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Drug Testing in the Texas Workplace

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, companies lose an estimated $100 billion each year due to drug and alcohol abuse. This is due to workers’ compensation claims, absenteeism, productivity loss, associated medical costs and employee turnover. If your company is considering drug testing for applicants or current employees, the following information will help you design an effective drug testing policy. Legal Requirements While it is left to the discretion of most private employers, employee drug testing is required by federal law for the rail, air or trucking industries.  Passed in 1991, the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act requires DOT Read more
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What Are Reasonable accommodations Under the ADA?

What Are Reasonable Accommodations Under the ADA? The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) offers workers protection from discrimination in the workplace due to disability. Employers with 15 or more employees must abide by the provisions of the act. In addition to prohibiting discrimination based on a protected disability, the ADA requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations in order to allow employees to be able to do their jobs, and to allow potential employees to apply and interview for positions. But just what is a “reasonable accommodation?” And are employers required to grant all requests for accommodation? What is a Reasonable Read more
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Terminating an Employee in Texas

Terminating an employee from your company is never pleasant or easy and the termination process should not be taken lightly.  Your company should have procedures in place to provide employees ongoing feedback so they know what they are doing well and areas in which they can improve.  Employees that are not performing adequately should be given a chance to improve their performance and there should be a process in place that documents counseling sessions and/or disciplinary notices, steps the employee has taken to improve, the employee’s progress, and any final results. This article does not cover that process but instead Read more
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Workplace Dress Code and Grooming Policies

Workplace dress code and grooming policies can help a business maintain an appropriate image, ensure workplace safety, and foster an atmosphere of teamwork among employees.  However, employers must take care to avoid creating policies that are discriminatory. Below we review some important factors to consider when creating employee dress codes and grooming policies. No Discrimination It is important to remember that an employer’s policies must not discriminate on the basis of age, disability, gender, marriage, pregnancy, race, religion, sex or any other category protected under Federal or Texas state law. When drafting your company’s dress code and grooming policy, make Read more
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Severance Agreements for Texas Employers

Part of running a business is managing the employee separation process.  Managing this process can be just as important as managing employees’ day-to-day responsibilities.  When employees leave your organization, it is often advantageous for the exiting employee to sign a severance agreement.  An agreement that properly outlines the employer and employee’s expectations will save time, money and considerable headaches in the near and distant future. A severance agreement is a contract between an employer and employee that documents the rights and responsibilities of both parties at termination of employment and beyond.  Typically, a severance agreement gives the employee payment in Read more
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Employee Handbook Guidelines & Pitfalls

A thoughtfully constructed employee handbook lays the groundwork for a strong relationship between a company and its employees. It outlines the employer’s expectations and lets workers know what they can expect from the organization. When you’re preparing your company’s employee handbook, refer to this list for the types of items that should be included and pitfalls to be addressed and/or avoided. Always remember, though, that every handbook is different and your company’s policies and procedures, as well as its culture and its tolerance for risk will determine what is included within the handbook. What to include in your Employee Handbook Read more
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Workplace Posters Required in Texas

Employers in Texas are required to display notices or posters in the workplace to inform employees of their rights and protections afforded by federal and state labor laws.   There are certain workplace posters that must be displayed by all employers. Requirements for other posters vary based on number of employees, industry, and other factors. Workplace Posters All Texas Employers Must Display Regardless of the business’s size or industry, there are a number of posters that every employer must display under Texas and federal law. These are: Employee Rights Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (lists minimum wage) Employee Polygraph Protection Read more
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Independent Contractor vs. Employee

Your Texas business may use independent contractors and employees to perform similar, if not the same duties from week to week. While the work they perform and their responsibilities may seem very similar, it is critically important that, as an employer, you understand the differences between independent contractors vs. employees. The differences between these two types of workers determine what types of laws apply to them when in your service. Misclassification of Workers Increasing Self-employed individuals have been providing services to businesses for decades, but there are more employment laws on the books now than ever before.  In recent years, Read more
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Department of Labor Audit Checklist: Wage & Hour Audit

Employers must comply with numerous Department of Labor (DOL) laws concerning employee wages and hours, workplace safety, family and medical leave, and special rights granted to military veterans in the workforce, among others. A DOL audit can focus on any area of employment law. The DOL has the right to audit employers at any time, so employers are wise to be prepared for scrutiny. In light of pending changes to Wage & Hour rules proposed in the Fair Labor Standards Act, we have put together a checklist to help you steer clear of trouble during a DOL Wage & Hour Read more