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Houston Employment Law Blog

An end to last minute scheduling changes for hourly workers?

The job stability of a fast food worker is dependent on the revenues their employer generates. Financial peaks and valleys are part of doing business for everyone involved.
While restaurants have predictable "up" and "down" times, business traffic not living up to expectations impact hourly employees’ bottom lines.

Non-salaried staff in particular can feel the sting of a slow day. After donning a uniform and leaving for work for a scheduled shift, a last-minute call from a supervisor could provide an unexpected, if not unwanted day off.

Can you avoid overtime disputes with your workers?

The oil and gas industry is hard work, and commonly requires employees to work over 40 hours a week. Long days can lead to pay dissatisfaction, and raise the question of overtime pay. Unfortunately, you and your employees may disagree on the level of compensation that they are entitled to. What can you do to avoid employee frustration and overtime disputes?


Wrongful termination gone wild

“Wild Thing” just finished a wild ride through the court system that started with him losing his job.

Mitchell Williams, best known as “Wild Thing,” was a major league baseball pitcher from 1986 to 1997. The 1989 All-Star’s career included stints with the Philadelphia Phillies, Texas Rangers, Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros, Kansas City Royals, and California Angels. In 2009, he transitioned from MLB athlete to studio analyst for the MLB Network.

Is Silicon Valley's culture of sexism at an end?

Silicon Valley has a history of high-tech innovation fueled by venture capital investments. More recently, the region in northern California has also established a growing reputation for sexism and harassment of women.

The most recent case involves Justin Caldbeck. The venture capital investor announced that he was taking an indefinite leave of absence from Binary Capital following accusations of sexual harassing female tech professionals.

Reporting workplace harassment? There's an app for that.

Once known for comedy, the Upright Citizens Brigade found themselves the decidedly unfunny topic of discussions involving workplace assault and harassment. After a show’s host faced accusations of rape, UCB set up a hotline for employees to report these types of incidences to counselors and human resource professionals in New York and Los Angeles.

The outdated nature of the hotline resulted in minimal use. Staff meeting counselors face-to-face were hesitant to file formal complaints, fearing retribution.

Amazon swallows Whole Foods: Time for a new employee handbook?

The Houston Chronicle last week released the news that Amazon is buying Whole Foods for the hefty sum of 13.7 billion dollars. While many have taken to social media making jokes about the cost of Whole Foods groceries--including one twitter user who wrote: I also spent 13 billion dollars at Whole Foods on 7 avocados and a red onion--for Amazon, this is the largest transaction in the history of the company.

Some might wonder: With thousands of Whole Foods employees slated to come under the Amazon corporate umbrella, is it time to re-write the employee handbook?

The ADEA at 50: A not-so-happy birthday

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act is as old, if not older than the workers it strives to protect. Enacted in 1967, the ADEA was supposed to alter the playing field for older workers. However, according to EEOC Acting Chair Victoria Lipnic, outdated stereotypes continue as to employment practices that exclude or discourage workers who are 50 and older.

In a commission hearing to commemorate the 50th birthday of the ADEA, Lipnic and other witnesses told the EEOC that workers unemployed in their 50s and 60s endure longer periods of joblessness than younger candidates do. Many outright give up and leave the work force.

Does Uber have a corporate culture problem?

Uber has become a cautionary tale for the freewheeling, Silicon Valley-style corporate culture. At the top of the company food chain is Travis Kalanick, the CEO who himself has earned a reputation for open defiance rules and regulations.

Uber has grown into a $70 million company with 12,000 employees that dominates the ride-hailing industry. However, that trail blazed by Kalanick already has a few stumbles along the way.

Is federal paid parental leave in the offing?

President Donald Trump is proposing to spend $19 billion on paid parental leave over the next decade. While opposition by both sides of the aisle would suggest alliances in a time of great division, the disagreements are taking two forms. Republicans think that it goes too far while Democrats believe that it doesn't go far enough.

The budget request, first promoted by first daughter Ivanka Trump, would require states to provide parents and adoptive parents six weeks of paid parental leave as part of their unemployment benefits.

Noncompete agreements: Not just for executives anymore

Noncompete agreements, once the exclusive purview of high-level executives, have now permeated the entire labor landscape.

The increase in use of these employment contracts are likely the result of employers' recognization of the value of thier intellectual property as well as the ever-present temptation to attempt to restrain competition.

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