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Department of Labor Audit Checklist: Wage & Hour Audit

Employers in Texas are required to comply with federal wage and hour laws, among other laws and regulations, enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Audits conducted by the Department of Labor can focus on a variety of employment law issues such as wage and hour rules, workplace safety, and family and medical leave requirements. As an employer, you should know that the DOL can initiate an audit at any time. Accordingly, it is important to be prepared for a DOL wage and hour audit. The following are issues that you should consider as you put together a DOL Read more
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Understanding the Whistleblower Lawsuit Against Attorney General Paxton

Who is an employer in Texas and who counts as an employee according to the Texas Whistleblower Act? Those are questions that surround the lawsuit against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who is facing claims from four former aides under Texas whistleblower law. According to a recent report in the Texas Tribune, those four former aides to Paxton have alleged that “they were fired in retaliation for telling authorities they believe Paxton had done illegal favors for a political donor, Austin real estate investor Nate Paul.” The allegations made by those former aides resulted in an FBI investigation, but Paxton’s Read more
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Simon | Paschal Says: Be Careful with Kindness

It’s that time again for another Simon | Paschal Says opinion column.  This opinion deals with kindness and the pitfalls employers face when they are too kind.  Before you fire off that angry email to us about how important kindness is, let us clarify what me mean by being careful with kindness.  First and foremost, we advocate an open and inclusive workplace that treats all employees with respect and treats all employees like important and valuable members of the workforce.  That is not the kindness we are talking about in this column.  The kindness you must avoid is the kindness Read more
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The “Post” COVID Workplace

Anyone that has followed the news understands that COVID is not going away any time soon.  So while we think it’s important to talk about the “post” COVID workplace, it’s not really all that “post.”  That said, there are some new normals and some considerations of which all employers should be mindful. Vaccinations With the vaccination of Americans in process, many employers have questions regarding what they can and cannot do with respect to the COVID vaccine.  Employers are permitted to require employees to get vaccinated.  However, employers must make reasonable accommodations based on ADA-protected disabilities and sincerely held religious Read more
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The NLRB in a Non-Union Setting

Many non-union employers fail to realize that the National Labor Relations Act still applies to them.  While the NLRA is most often applied in the union setting, at its most basic level, the NLRA protects the right of employees to engage in protected concerted activity.  Such protected concerted activity can occur in a union or non-union setting.  With that in mind, we want to go over a few of the more common situations in which the NLRA affects the non-union workplace. One of the most common affected areas is employee handbooks.  Many employers remember several years ago when the National Read more
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Do Texas Employers Have to Pay Employees for Work Missed Due to Inclement Weather?

The recent 2021 winter storm in Texas shut down a large portion of the state for the week.  Lack of electricity forced the closing of many businesses.  Those businesses that were able to stay open had numerous absences from employees who could not travel to work because of the snow and ice or could not work remotely because of the lack of electricity at home.  A common question from employers is whether or not they are required to pay employees for work due to inclement weather. The answer depends on a couple factors.  First, is the employee a non-exempt (often, 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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Simon | Paschal Says: A Time for HeaRt

This may seem like a funny thing to hear employment lawyers say, but now more than ever it is time for Human Resources to truly exhibit HeaRt.  Our capitalization and bolding of the word heart are intentional because as the great Michael Scott would say, “HR is in the word.” 2020 has been a tough year for all of us.  We have been socially isolated for much of the year.  We have dealt with the fear of contracting a virus that for much of the year was largely unknown.  We have faced tough decisions about layoffs and reductions in pay.  Read more
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Personnel Actions: Layoffs & PTO

As businesses and employers are getting a better handle on their staffing needs after several roller coaster months of COVID-19, the fortunate businesses are facing decisions about bringing people back to work who had previously been laid off and also addressing paid time off of employees that may not have utilized much of it.  With this in mind, employers should understand their options and any legal requirements. A common question we often get, and one we are getting more often at this time, is what requirements apply to employers when they begin restaffing positions that were vacant due to recent 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