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May 2013 Archives

Lawsuit challenges benefits for partners of government employees

A Texas judge recently declined to enact an injunction on benefits for government employee's same-sex partners in El Paso County. The motion for an injunction was brought as a part of a pending case challenging the county's decision to offer health benefits to same-sex couples just as they do for legally married couples. The injunction sought to put a hold on benefits currently being provided to same-sex couples.

'Job-protected' status helps FMLA users simply return to work

Many Houston residents have used leave time associated with the Family Medical Leave Act before. Sometimes, a medical emergency requires it; other times, it can be a happier moment, like taking care of your son or daughter immediately after their birth. FMLA rights extend to many employees, and they may not even be aware of some of the wrinkles of the system that can help them should an FMLA dispute arise.

Texas towing company violated wage and hour laws

Many Houston residents may be familiar with United Towing & Transport, a roadside assistance company that operates in Texas (in addition to California and Alabama). You may recognize their logo while driving on the highway; or maybe you recognize the name because, unfortunately, you have had to call them to get your car towed to an auto shop.

Texas lawmakers reject employee classification bill

A bill that would have put more restrictions on employers in the construction industry in Texas will likely not pass this session, according to recent local reports. The bill would have closed a loophole that makes it possible for construction firms to classify full-time, permanent employees as independent contractors, which prevents them from having to pay payroll taxes and workers compensation. This also makes it possible to deny workers overtime that they may be owed if they work more than 40 hours in a week.

Expanded DSM-5 could make employers liable for employee disorders

The newest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) will add numerous social and mental disorders to its pages, while expanding the definition of other disorders. This has led to a lot of worry amongst employers that they will be held liable for incidents of discrimination that, just a few days ago, they would not have been liable for.

Employers cannot obtain genetic information during hiring process

Whenever a Houston resident gets a new job, they will be thrilled at the news. It is an exciting time, and as such, it is easy to get caught up in the moment and forget your rights as a newly hired employee, or as an employee amidst his or her probationary status. You will jump at the chance to prove to your new employer that you are clear for work; and in many cases, you will sign off on things that you likely had no idea you could legally refuse.

Woman says hospital denied reasonable accommodations in hiring

A woman who applied for a position as a hospital administrator says that she was unfairly denied the job after she "failed" a urine sample test becuase she good not take it. The employer should have given her more time to complete the mandatory drug testing as an accomodation for her shy bladder problems, which she says amount to a disability under the meaning of the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

New federal provision would provide comp time to private sector

It is easy to forget over the course of many years in the workforce, but every employee has certain rights pertaining to his or her wage and hour designation. If you have an upcoming vacation that will use up more time off than you have; or if there are extenuating circumstances surrounding your health or the health of a loved one; there are rights you have to remedy the situation so that both employer and employee are happy.

Even when you are off the clock, your choices matter to employers

Many Houston residents likely do not think about this when they leave work -- in fact, once they leave their job, they likely leave their worklife at the door. However, many residents need to consider what they do when they are away from work. Activities or actions that they take may affect them in ways they could have never imagined.

Texas employer arrested for wage theft

The owner of a Texas roofing company was arrested recently after authorities discovered that he had underpaid a worker by more than $2,000. The employee said that he had completed the work and the customer had paid his employer, but when he asked to be compensated, the owner of the company said that he "didn't want to pay" the man. 

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