A company is being sued by a Texas employee for allegedly violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Denton County resident claims that he was wrongfully discharged after being employed with Ampco Products Co. from Aug. 7 to Nov. 30, 2012. According to reports, the employee was harassed and humiliated because of his disability, the nature of which was not reported.
A company recently discovered that simply having one employee in Texas was enough to get it sued for violating that employee's rights. The company assumed wrongly that it would not be held liable for poor treatment and wrongful termination of the only employee it had in Texas. A judge found otherwise.
According to some businesses and political leaders in Texas, federal laws regarding equal pay for equal job duties are all that are needed to ensure fair compensation. Not everyone agrees with this stance, and groups are organizing to protest both state government action and businesses that speak out against state legislation that would help ensure equal compensation for women.
When is an employee not an employee? It depends on how a worker is classified by an employer. Full-time employees are eligible for benefits -- and are also required to be paid overtime, where applicable, and fair wages. Employers must also pay insurance and employment taxes for full-time employees, which can add up to significant expenses for businesses.
According to a report released earlier this month, 59 percent of Texas fast-food employees rely on some form of public assistance to support their families. Recent strikes in Houston, Dallas and Austin have focused on the fact that employees are whipsawed between compensation that has less purchasing power than it did in 1968 and the growth of part-time work, especially in low-wage sectors of the economy.
Being a district attorney pays well in Texas, especially in certain counties. That is at least the case for Joe Shannon, the former state representative that was appointed as Tarrant County’s DA in 2009 by Gov. Rick Perry. His case may be one of the highest profile employment-related disputes the state will resolve this year, with employment benefits and overall compensation in question.
Businesses have an interest in protecting themselves from former employees who might provide value to other companies in the area. There are times, though, when companies overstep their bounds in an aggressive effort to restrict employee rights. That might be what happened in Texas, where a Tyler man has claimed that he should not be bound by a restrictive noncompetition clause that he never agreed to.
Two former interns have initiated a federal class action lawsuit against Conde Nast publications, alleging that the company paid them one dollar per hour or less for their time spent toiling.
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.