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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
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Is the Biden Administration Eliminating Non-Compete Agreements?

On July 9, 2021, President Biden signed an Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy.  The EO outlines a need to create a fair, open, and competitive marketplace.  A lot of the areas identified are non-employment related areas such as cable/internet providers and costs, farming, and government contracts.  The EO does, however, contain a paragraph addressing non-compete agreements.  Specifically, the EO states that “the Chair of the FTC is encouraged to consider working with the rest of the Commission to exercise the FTC’s statutory rulemaking authority under the Federal Trade Commission Act to curtail the unfair use of Read more
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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
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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
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Amazon Abandons Arbitration: Should My Company Follow Suit?

You are likely already bound by many mandatory arbitration clauses tucked away in your contractual agreements, whether as an employer, employee, or even a consumer. This has traditionally been the route for companies hoping to deter class action claims from customers and employees, and to keep their disputes out of the public eye. However, after facing an unreasonable amount of individual arbitration demands by consumers regarding the Echo Dot device, Amazon jumped ship on arbitration due to the impending massive costs. Because of this decision, consumers can now file individual claims against the company or even group together in a 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