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Changes Employers Need to Know Regarding Texas Sexual Harassment Law

Starting on September 1, 2021, Texas’ sexual harassment law will have some fairly significant changes.  This past summer, both the Texas state house and senate passed amendments to Section 21 of the Texas Labor Code. The most significant change is that the law will now apply to companies with one employee or more (previously the law only applied to employers with 15 or more employees). The new law now covers every employer in Texas.  The definition of employer is also expanding to include individuals who act “directly in the interests of an employer in relation to an employee.”  This means Read more
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Is a Business Legally Required to Follow its Own Policies/Handbook?

Business owners in Texas should have written policies and, ideally, an employee handbook that compiles all of the policies and expectations within the workplace. Employee handbooks can provide important information and protections for the employee and employer alike. Yet situations might arise in which an employer believes that a particular policy that is written in the employee handbook should not apply, or that a specific workplace policy the employer created previously should not be followed in a specific circumstance. In these types of scenarios, is a business legally required to follow its own policies or employee handbook? The answer to Read more
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Damages to Expect in Common Employment Law Cases

When facing a workplace claim or lawsuit from a current or former employee, it is useful for employers to know the types of damages they may be expected to pay in common employment law cases. Generally speaking, whether an employee has filed a wage and hour violation claim, an employment discrimination case, a retaliation case, or a wrongful termination lawsuit, the purpose of the remedy is to put that employee in the same position that she or he would have been in but for the violation (although punitive damages are also often available). When an employee wins a claim against Read more
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EEOC Releases Changes to Compliance Manual on Religious Discrimination

  Employers in Texas should be aware of the recent compliance manual changes from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on religious discrimination in the workplace. The changes to the compliance manual focus specifically on religious discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. As the EEOC explains, “under Title VII, an employer is prohibited from discriminating because of religion in hiring, promotion, discharge, compensation, or other terms, conditions or privileges of employment, and also cannot ‘limit, segregate, or classify’ applicants or employees based on religion ‘in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive Read more
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Transacting Business in Multiple States

Are you registered to do business in every state in which you provide services? What about those states in which your client is based but you provide all your services remote? Or that state in which you have a remote employee who moved away from your corporate office when most businesses transitioned to remote workers in response to COVID-19?  For a lot of business owners, they assume that once they have established their company entity, they are free to transact business as they please (whether they established the entity in the state where their corporate office is located or in Read more
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Election Season Considerations

2020 is the year that everything that could possibly happen…happened.  It seems only normal, then, that 2020 is also the year of a U.S. Presidential election.  No matter where you stand as an HR professional on the political spectrum, you must navigate the election season in the workplace.  With that in mind, let’s discuss just a few things to keep in mind. First and foremost, unless you are a governmental employee, you absolutely have the right as an employer to prohibit political discussions in the workplace.  The First Amendment right to freedom of speech does not apply to non-governmental actors.  Read more
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Supreme Court Update

While many of us were focused on COVID-19 over the summer, the United States Supreme Court issued three major decisions affecting the workplace.  Here is what you need to know. LGBTQ Protections The Supreme Court issued a 6-3 opinion in which the Court extended Title VII’s anti-discrimination protections to LGBTQ workers.  The majority decided the case on a very simple basis – Title VII prohibits discrimination against LGBTQ workers because such discrimination is discrimination based on sex.  The relevant language from Justice Gorsuch’s opinion below explains: An individual’s homosexuality or transgender status is not relevant to employment decisions. That’s because Read more
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US Supreme Court Issues LGBT Discrimination Decision

On June 15, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 6-3 opinion in which the Court extended Title VII’s anti-discrimination protections to LGBT workers. Justice Gorsuch authored the majority opinion and was joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan. The majority decided the case on a very simple basis – Title VII prohibits discrimination against LGBT workers because such discrimination is discrimination based on sex. The relevant language from Justice Gorsuch’s opinion below explains: “An individual’s homosexuality or transgender status is not relevant to employment decisions. That’s because it is impossible to discriminate against a 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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Employee Data Privacy in the Workplace

Over the course of a year, employers collect and store a vast amount of private, personal information.  This may include dates of birth, driver’s license and social security numbers for employees and their dependents, private medical information, bank account numbers, and even biometric identifiers such as fingerprints or retina scans. Employers are then required to be custodians of this data, maintaining confidentiality while still using it for its intended purpose.  Just what are the requirements for Texas employers with regards to employee data privacy? Protecting Personal Information Various statutes in the Texas Business and Commerce Code protect employees’ personally identifiable Read more