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April 2013 Archives

Non-compete agreements under fire as some states consider ban

Many Houston residents have gone through a tough time in the past five years. The economy took a nosedive, and only recently has it started to show signs of stabilizing. that has resulted in many hardships for families all across Texas; some of whom went through a tumultuous period where they were laid off or simply could not find employment, no matter how hard they tried.

The Texas explosion and employee rights

According to one commentator, we can see the result of federal and state officials' reluctance to implement stronger employee protection statutes in West, Texas. Rather than allowing OSHA to make inspections at companies that could possibly prevent tragedies such as this from occurring, we expect whistleblowers to reveal that dangerous conditions exist at factories.

'Fashion Police' writers go on strike for better wages

Writers on the popular television show Fashion Police have announced that they are on strike until the show agrees to sign a contract with the Writers Guild of America, the union that represents many television writers. The employees say that the show is ignoring relevant wage and hour laws which would entitle them to overtime pay and benefits.

Bill would allow employers to pay for overtime with time off

Typically, when a worker puts in overtime, he or she will be paid time and a half for the work performed over 40 hours in a week. Recently, legislators in the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a bill that would change how employees can be paid for overtime work.

Wal-Mart employee fired after being sexually harassed for years

Texas residents will want to hear about a despicable story coming out of Ohio about the treatment a developmentally disabled woman received as she worked for Wal-Mart. The woman, who worked for Wal-Mart for 11 years, was fired for complaining about the sexual harassment she was subjected to while working at her store.

Gender segregation policy by Texas firm results in lawsuit

The Texas Commission on Human Rights Act makes it illegal for an employer to enact policies of rules that harm the "terms, conditions, or privileges" of an employee based on a number of outside factors. Gender is one of these factors, which makes it so surprising that a Texas firm had a stringent policy that forbade employees from intermingling with employees of the opposite gender -- both while at work and outside of work.

Texas employee says law firm isolated women

A Texas woman says that the law firm where she is a partner discriminated against women through a no-fraternization policy that prohibited men and women from working alone together and from socializing outside of the office. This resulted in professional disadvantages for the women at the firm, who were isolated.

Overweight employees could be fined for poor health

Health care costs have always and will always be a primary concern for employers. According to analysts, the 2013 average health care cost for one employee will sit around $11,000 -- and it shows no signs of declining. Considering the introduction of the Affordable Care Act (which will come into full effect soon, and has already impacted the health care industry), employers are changing their health care policies to align (and, in some cases, take advantage of) the new rules.

Texas court says no to right to representative for state workers

The Texas Supreme Court has said no to extending the right to a union representative for state workers in meetings with managers. Under current federal laws, employee's right to "concerted activities" under the National Labor Relations Act allows federal and private-sector workers to have a union representative accompany them to meeting with management that could result in disciplinary actions.

Mother sells Girl Scout cookies at work, gets fired for it

When it comes to employment law stories, every so often one comes along that sounds so ridiculous and illogical that it seems literally unbelievable. For example, remember the lifeguard from last summer that was fired for saving someone's life? Per their rules, the lifeguard's superiors had the right to fire him -- but is such a move really appropriate or logical, given the circumstances?

NFL questioned about sexual orientation discrimination

As fans of the Houston Texans are well aware, in a few weeks the National Football League will be holding its annual draft, giving NFL teams the opportunity to acquire the next Joe Montana or Walter Payton. Before this draft is held every year, all 32 NFL franchises meet for a week-long scouting combine to judge the incoming college talent.

Know your rights regarding the Family Medical Leave Act

The importance of the Family Medical Leave Act cannot be understated. Enacted in 1993, the law's intention is twofold: to protect people who are dealing with a serious medical situation, and to offer families a chance to better balance work and life.

Possible wrongful termination in child abuse reporting case

A former employee of nationwide retail chain DSW says that she was wrongfully terminated for violating a company policy after she reported an instance of possible child abuse by one of their customers. The woman called child protective services and provided the name and address of a customer that was obtained during the return process after a series of events in the store that caused her serious concern for a child's safety.

Workplace protections for smokers lag far behind the times

As we have discussed numerous times -- and as we would hope businesses and organizations would have learned by now -- discrimination in the workplace is not only unacceptable but illegal. There are myriad classes of people that are protected by local and federal laws. Everyone has the right to pursue a career, and inhibiting that right based on an external factor (such as race, gender, religion or sexual orientation, to name a few) is wrong.

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