0 9029

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an independent contractor or an employee may not be clear given that the Trump-era independent contractor rule has been withdrawn.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 The DOL rescinded that rule, however, and the repeal took effect on May 6, 2021.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
0 9240

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
0 9045

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
0 9044

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
0 9053

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
0 10142

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