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Can Employers Require Employees to Self-Quarantine?

If you own a business and you are preparing to bring employees back to work in-person in the Dallas area, or if you already have employees working in-person at your business, you may have questions about your rights as an employer based on COVID-19 exposure and risks. In other words, you might be wondering whether you can take certain actions in order to prevent employees from spreading COVID-19 in the workplace or putting other employees at risk. So, can employers require employees to self-quarantine? In short, the answer is likely “yes,” in terms of requiring the employee to stay away Read more
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How Does Sabine Pilot Service v. Hauck Apply to Current Legal Issues?

In 1985, the Supreme Court of Texas decided the case of Sabine Pilot Service, Inc. v. Hauck. The ruling has become a significant one for employers in Texas because it concerns an employee who filed a claim against his employer after he refused to commit an illegal act. The Texas Supreme Court established a limited exception to the employment-at-will doctrine used in the state of Texas. Specifically, the Court clarified that an employee can have a valid claim against an employer, even when that employee is an at-will employee, if the employee has been terminated for refusing to perform an Read more
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Are Employers Required to Provide Appropriate PPE for Employees?

If you own a business in Dallas and have employees, you probably have a wide variety of questions about your responsibilities as an employer during the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued recommendations for safe in-person workplaces that include personal protective equipment (PPE), depending upon the type of workplace. Therefore, certain employees may need personal protective equipment who did not require it prior to the start of the pandemic. At the same time, many employers have been requiring PPE for certain employees outside COVID-19 considerations. Some jobs require PPE for compliance with safety Read more
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California Attorney General Says Rideshare Drivers are Employees, Not Independent Contractors

If you are an employer in Texas who hires independent contractors with any frequency, or even on a temporary basis, you should be paying attention to the rideshare lawsuit in California. As outlined in a recent article in The New York Times, California sued Uber and Lyft, two prominent rideshare companies, alleging that they have misclassified their workers and that they have failed to comply with a new California law regarding gig workers.  In the gig economy, many rideshare drivers, including Uber and Lyft drivers, operate as independent contractors, a classification that theoretically relieves Uber and Lyft and any other Read more
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Are There Notice Requirements for Laying Off or Furloughing Employees?

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many employers in Dallas and across Texas have had to contend with severe economic losses. As a result of business closures and lost revenue, many employers in Dallas have had to furlough or lay off employees. We know that this is an incredibly difficult process for many employers, and we also know that it can be extremely complicated to understand the laws surrounding furloughs and layoffs. The major federal law pertaining to employment separation notice requirements is the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (or WARN Act). This is a law that requires Texas employers, as Read more
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How COVID-19 Affects Workers’ Compensation Claims 

Many employers in Texas closed temporarily during the stay-at-home orders issued in March, leading to many employees working from home. At the same time, many businesses classified as “essential” remained open during the stay-home orders, continuing to employ workers. In the past weeks, Texas has begun opening up again, and many businesses have reopened and have welcomed employees back to the workplace.  The coronavirus pandemic has not changed the fact that employees continue to sustain injuries while working, and that employers have certain duties when it comes to workers’ compensation claims in Texas. If you have questions about your responsibilities Read more
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Employment Law Issues to Consider Before Reopening Your Business

In Texas, many businesses have started the process of reopening after stay-at-home orders designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infections have been lifted. As many employers consider reopening their businesses in Dallas and throughout Texas, it is important to consider a variety of legal and liability issues that could impact your business. While distinct types of businesses may face particular issues when it comes to reopening, in general, employers should consider many different employment law issues when they are considering opening up again. The following are some important issues to take into account when you are deciding whether it Read more
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A Season of Change for Human Resources

On Saturday, June 20, we marked the official start of summer.  That day is known as the summer solstice, the longest day of the year and the day on which the sun reaches its highest and northernmost points in the sky.  With the start of summer, we close out spring and we turn to thoughts of pool parties, backyard cookouts, and summer vacations.  This summer, though, has a different feel and a different approach in light of COVID-19; and with the start of this particular summer, we look back on a monumental spring of change for Human Resources professionals everywhere. 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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Protect Against Sexual Harassment Claims for Remote Work

Now that businesses throughout the Dallas area have shifted to remote work as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, many employees find themselves working online from home. Meetings that may have been held in-person within the office setting or around a workplace conference table have now shifted to Zoom or other virtual meeting platforms. Yet, it is essential for employers to know that they still need to take steps to prevent sexual harassment in the remote workplace, and to handle remote sexual harassment when it does occur. By having policies in place for preventing and managing sexual harassment claims in Read more