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Where’s the Line? What is a “Hostile Work Environment”?

Whether you are taking policy steps at your business to protect against harassment in the workplace or you are facing an employee discrimination claim that alleges a hostile work environment, it can be difficult to know what actually constitutes a hostile work environment. While you might know that a hostile work environment is one in which an employee faces harassment or discrimination, you might also be wondering: Where is the line? In other words, when does certain language or behavior rise to the level of creating a hostile work environment in Texas? Understanding the Hostile Work Environment & Harassment in Read more
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Tips for Crafting Severance Agreements

The prospect of having to tell an employee that they are losing their job is one of the most difficult tasks an employer will face. Employers in Dallas and across Texas often soften the blow by making a severance package part of the termination process. Typically, this will include payment and a severance agreement that the employee must sign. It is particularly important that Texas business owners create severance agreements that will protect the company and its executives from any future legal action from employees. An experienced Dallas employment law attorney can help your business craft effective severance agreements that Read more
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Is There a “7-Minute Rule” for Hourly Payments?

Anyone who owns a business in Texas and has employees—particularly employees who are paid by the hour—should be aware of their obligations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the rights that federal law affords to wage employees. To be sure, the FLSA governs federal laws pertaining to workers’ wages, hours, and overtime pay, among other matters. Generally speaking, the FLSA requires hourly wage employees to be paid for each hour that they work, but there are some exceptions. One such exception is often known as the “7-Minute Rule.” What is the “7-Minute Rule” and how does it affect Read more
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Are There Rules for Verbiage Used in Job Advertisements?

When your business is advertising jobs for new positions, you should be thinking about the specific language you plan to use in those job posts and how you want to frame the position you are advertising. When you draft your job advertisement, consider language selection carefully. It is important to avoid using language that could be considered discriminatory. The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) provides information about rules for job advertisements, and we want to ensure that you understand what you can and cannot say in a new job posting. Recommendations Versus Obligations for Posting Generally speaking, the TWC notes that Read more
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What Equipment Should be Reimbursed for At-Home Work?

If you have employees who work from home on a full-time or part-time basis, you might be wondering if you should be reimbursing certain expenses. In particular, if your company reimburses business expenses for employees who do not work from home, or if your business provided such reimbursements prior to the pandemic, employees who work from home may have already made reimbursement requests or you might be anticipating them. You should know that federal law does not require employers to provide reimbursements for expenses, nor does Texas law. One exception, however, is that under the Fair Labor Standards Act, an Read more
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Increased Need to Protect Trade Secrets and Data with Remote Work

Every employer in Texas should be thinking about ways to protect trade secrets and take steps to prevent the misappropriation of trade secrets. Yet with increased remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an increased need for many employers in Texas and across the country to consider ways to protect classified information. Our Dallas employment law attorneys want to provide you with more information about why there is an increased need to protect trade secrets, as well as tips for keeping your business’s valuable proprietary information confidential. Why is There an Increased Need to Protect Trade Secrets with Read more
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What is an EEO-1 Report (And Do We Need to File One?)

If you own a business in Texas and have employees, it is critical to know about EEO-1 data collection and whether or not your company is required by federal law to file an EEO-1 Component 1 report. You might be wondering, what is an EEO-1 report, and does my business need to file one? The EEO-1 is an annually filed form that provides a breakdown of a company’s workforce demographics by race and gender. According to a press release from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the EEO-1 Component 1 report is part of the “opening of the 2019 Read more
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Will the “Economic Reality” Test for Independent Contractors be Changed Under the New Administration?

Many Texas employers whose worker classification is difficult to determine have questions about the new administration’s U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) rules regarding independent contractors. More specifically, the test that employers should apply to determine whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee may not be clear given that the Trump-era independent contractor rule has been withdrawn. That rule created an “economic reality” test that included two central or core factors that employers could use to determine a worker’s status. The DOL rescinded that rule, however, and the repeal took effect on May 6, 2021. If you are Read more
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Are Employees Required PTO to Get a COVID Vaccine?

  Employers in Texas with employees who need or want to receive the COVID-19 vaccine might have questions about offering time off to get the shot.  Are Texas employers required to provide paid time off (PTO) for their employees to get the vaccine? Texas Law Does Not Require Paid Leave for COVID-19 Vaccines Texas currently has no state law that requires employers of any size to provide employees with paid time off, or any type of paid sick leave, for purposes of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, even if they require employees to be vaccinated. While it is possible that state Read more
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When Can I Fire an Employee for Conduct Outside of Work?

Texas employers are becoming more concerned with employees’ conduct outside the workplace, particularly when an employee’s actions are posted on social media sites and could reflect poorly on the business. According to a recent article in the Houston Chronicle, many Texas business owners have concerns about employee behavior negatively impacting the company, whether it is the employee engaging in political events outside the workplace or engaging in conduct that the business owner finds morally or ethically reprehensible. Yet many employers in Texas do not fully understand their rights when it comes to holding employees accountable for conduct outside the workplace. Read more