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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
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Can I Require Employees to Wear Masks or Other Equipment?

** This post was originally made in May 2020 but has been updated due to recent changes.  Be aware that as a result of the fluid situation involving COVID-19, the below is up to date as of late June 2020.  Things could change that affect the below.  We will do our best to update but want to make sure you are aware of this fact. Whether you have kept your business open during the coronavirus pandemic as an essential business or you are just beginning to make plans to reopen and to bring employees back to the workplace, it is Read more
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The SP Opinion: Reconsider Progressive Discipline

Progressive discipline dates back almost 100 years and is considered standard procedure for the vast majority of employers.  If you fall in the majority, have you stopped to consider why you use a progressive discipline policy and whether it is time for a change? The idea of a progressive discipline policy is to give employees warnings of wrongdoings so that they can correct their deficiencies and have no further issues in the future.  Providing an employee a second or third chance makes common sense.  Perhaps the employee did not realize they were doing anything wrong or just the age old Read more
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Planning for the Return to Work

While no one knows when the local, state, and federal governments will allow all employees to return to the office and conduct business as “normal,” we do know that at some point in that future that will occur.  Anticipating now the issues you’ll face as you consider bringing back employees is critical to ensuring a smooth transition. When and How to Bring Back Current Employees  The first thing to begin planning is when and how to bring back your current employees.  This will include deciding whether your employees that are working from home currently will continue working from home or Read more
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Safe Place to Work? Issues to Consider with Your Remote Workers

In March, numerous businesses were forced to close their physical offices and create work from home opportunities for their employees to ensure efficient operations continued.  For some companies that had already converted to a virtual remote workspace, this transition was easy.  For the majority of businesses, however, this was unexpected and presented numerous growing pains.  Whether you consider this work from home situation temporary or you are considering making it more permanent, there are several issues you should consider when it comes to ensuring a safe workplace for your remote workers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued Read more