Articles Posted in Business And Employment Law

Under state and federal law, employees have certain legal rights. When an employee (present, past, or even potential) believes that his or her rights have been violated, it is likely that a Dallas employment law claim will result. It is important that such a claim, like any other assertion against a business, be strongly defended.

Facts of the Case

In a recent federal case filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, the plaintiff was a woman who filed suit against the defendant employer asserting violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The plaintiff’s complaint alleged that she developed work-related carpal tunnel syndrome, which she claimed prevented her from performing her job duties.

She further averred that she was entitled to certain salary continuation benefits under a policy of the defendant’s that provided paid leave of up to 100% of regular base pay for workers who were on restricted duty due to an injury or illness. According to the plaintiff, some of the benefits had not been paid, thus prompting her to file suit against the defendant. Continue reading

When it comes to hiring and retaining quality employees, the competition can be fierce. Long gone are the days when a potential employee checked the newspaper or local employment service for job openings. Nowadays, most individuals who are looking for work begin their job search online.

Immediate access to virtually every job available in a particular city gives job applicants plenty of choices, often requiring them to narrow down their search to just a few openings. Thus, a Dallas employer who is defamed or whose business is disparaged online could be at a substantial disadvantage when it comes to finding potential employment candidates.

Facts of the Case

The plaintiff in a case recently considered by the Supreme Court of Texas was a Dallas business that sought to depose representatives of the defendant jobs/recruiting website operator regarding the identity of certain individuals (who identified themselves as former or current employees of the plaintiff) whom the plaintiff alleged had posted negative statements about it online between July 2014 and June 2015. As grounds, the plaintiff contended that it wished to investigate potential defamation and business disparagement claims against the individuals who had posted the unfavorable information about it anonymously on the defendant’s website.

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There are many different types of Dallas wage and hour disputes that can arise between employers and employees. In addition to federal laws, there is a Texas Minimum Wage Act with its own set of rules and regulations. In some instances, a particular city may also have an ordinance that purports to put further requirements in place. For example, one particular Texas city enacted an ordinance earlier this year that aims to require private employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees. The legality of this law was recently questioned in an appellate case.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the Texas Court of Appeals for the Third District at Austin was called upon to consider a challenge to the defendant city’s brand new paid-sick-leave ordinance, which the plaintiffs, an association of businesses and others, asserted was unconstitutional. The plaintiffs’ suit, filed in the District Court of Travis County, sought injunctive relief against enforcement of the ordinance. The State of Texas intervened in the lawsuit, also asserting claims against the defendant. The defendant answered that the trial court lacked jurisdiction over the matter because plaintiffs’ claims were not yet ripe and/or the State lack standing to intervene.

The trial court denied the defendant’s jurisdictional challenges, as well as the plaintiffs’ request for a temporary injunction.

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Texas employment cases vary substantially from one to another. Some cases deal with issues like sexual harassment or discrimination, while others pertain to wage and hour laws or allegations of retaliatory discharge following a work injury or whistleblowing incident.

Recently, a Texas appellate court ruled in a case in which the issue was whether a professional football league had the right to tell players that they were not allowed to participate in a “fantasy” fan convention because of the location of the event (a casino in Las Vegas), which the league alleged was prohibited under the league’s gambling policy for players and employees.

Facts of the Case

Jury trials and even bench trials can be expensive, and the results can be unpredictable. Therefore, alternative dispute resolution techniques, such as mediation and arbitration, have become more popular in recent years as a means of resolving disputes, including Texas employment law cases. Sometimes, both parties will agree to arbitrate or mediate, but one party may be able to compel such a resolution based on a document signed in advance of the dispute by the other.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the appellant was a garment manufacturer who sought arbitration of a dispute concerning injuries that the appellee, a sewing machine operator, allegedly sustained at work. According to the employer, the employee signed a “receipt and arbitration acknowledgement” when she began her employment in 2011. The employee maintained that she did not specifically remember signing any documents pertaining to arbitration and that she had been misled into believing that the arbitration document was “not important” and was “only routine.” The employee also claimed that she had several learning disorders and that her reading ability was below the second grade level.

When an auditor from the Department of Labor (DOL) shows up to investigate an alleged violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), business owners often do not know what to do. Remember this: You are not required to let a DOL investigator in.

Protecting Your Interests Is Not A Sign Of Guilt

DOL investigators may try to convince you to let them in. They may say that denying them entry is a sign of guilt or that it is getting the investigation off to a bad start. They may pretend that they are your friend and act like they are just trying to clear up a misunderstanding. The truth is that you have a lot on the line here, and you have the right to make certain everything is handled correctly and your interests are protected.

As of January 22nd, employers need to be using the updated Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification). The new version is dated 11/14/2016 and replaces the last updated version from 2013.

Minor Changes, But Major Penalties

The changes to the form, which are explained in an article from the Society for Human Resource Management, are relatively minor. However, it is important that employers take note of them and submit the updated Form I-9 for new employees, because failure to do so can result in serious penalties. Employers are not required to submit a new I-9 for existing employees for whom they have already submitted an I-9.

New laws can mean new changes. You may need make changes to your business with the new overtime law taking effect in early December. As an employer, it is your job to ensure fair labor conditions and pay. With new rules concerning overtime, you will make to make sure that you are prepared for any changes and address legal concerns before they arise.

What is the new overtime law?

Essentially the new overtime law increased the minimum salary from $23,600 to $47,476. So, starting December 1st, employees who make under $47,476 a year are legally entitled to overtime if they work over 40 hours a week.

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