0 124

Simon Paschal Says: Flexibility is Key

It’s August 2021.  We all thought COVID would be behind us at this point.  We are all exhausted.  We are all mentally drained.  And as employers, you’ve spent the last nearly year and a half dealing with workplace changes, new laws, and constantly changing agency guidance.  Unfortunately, though, it looks like the rest of 2021 could be more of the same.  We’re here to tell you that you can handle it.  The key is flexibility. While you may be ready to return to the office, with variant surges and fewer public mandates in place, the best approach might be to Read more
0 155

Federal Court in Texas Confirms Employers Can Mandate COVID-19 Vaccine

In June, a judge in the U.S. District Court of Texas – Southern Division, confirmed employers can terminate employees for refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine.  In a lawsuit brought by more than 100 employees at Houston Methodist Hospital, U.S. District Judge Hughes granted Methodist’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit.  The employees attempted to allege that they were being forced to take a vaccine that they deemed “experimental.”  This argument was summarily dismissed as the Judge noted that Texas law only protects employees from being terminated for refusing to commit an act carrying criminal penalties to the worker.  Receiving a Read more
0 190

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
0 10395

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
0 327

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
0 299

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
0 279

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
0 235

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
0 423

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
0 410

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