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Houston Employment Law Blog

Texas worker forced into no-choice choice

Sometimes an employer will offer a worker a choice that is in reality no choice at all. The perfect illustration can be found in the choice between being fired or retiring. No matter what the worker decides to do, he or she is out of a job.

We recently read of a worker who was faced with that no-win choice. She decided on retirement, but then she made another decision: to discuss the matter with a Texas employment law attorney and pursue a claim of age discrimination.

The impact of Hurricane Harvey on employers and employees

As the cleanup continues following the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, Texas residents are looking to get back to a sense of normalcy with their lives. Some want to get back to their daily routines. Others just want to get back to work.

Employers whose operations were shut down because of the devastating hurricane are also looking to restart their operations. However, many questions arise, specifically involving their obligations in the aftermath of a natural disaster. Primary concerns likely include paying their employees and providing benefits, health or otherwise.

On wrongful termination and the factors to consider

Losing a job is a traumatic and disappointing experience. If you have been fired, the sudden loss of income and benefits will change the way you live your life in the short-term, and possibly the long-term. If you have been laid off, the effects will be similar, though there may be some warning or severance. If you quit a job, it may be liberating, but there still may be some tough times ahead.

All in all, when you lose a job, your response needs to be appropriate. This is even more important for those who have lost their jobs under wrongful or unlawful circumstances. Make no mistake, many terminations are done legally and appropriately, so you shouldn't assume that just because you were let go from your company that it was done wrongfully.

The cost of doing business for Bob Evans

With 600 locations in 24 states, Bob Evans restaurants promotes country living and a close connection to farms. Some would say their approach hearkens back to simpler times. However, being "old-fashioned" apparently went beyond the setting they provided their customers.

The work environment for one employee in particular could be described as hostile.

Does Google have a diversity problem?

The act of clicking “send” on an email cost a Google employee his job.

While the staff member remained unnamed, software engineer James Damore confessed to sending the email. He is now considering legal action against his former employer for his termination after he complained to federal labor officials about alleged efforts by executives to silence him.

Is your employer open to predictable scheduling?

Having a livable working wage for the working poor is at the forefront of many legislators’ agendas. Indeed, the cost of living in Texas is lower than other areas of the country, so a $15 minimum wage may not be a priority yet, but having predictable schedules certainly is.  

While many may not understand this concept, consider this: you are scheduled to work from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on a Saturday. An hour before you are scheduled to come in, your supervisor calls and informs you that you won’t be needed for the day. The income that you have planned on earning that day is now gone, and you don’t have enough time or an opportunity to recoup it. With bills that are due and other financial obligations, being held out of work because of scheduling issues can be problematic.

Harassed at work? Reported it to HR? What are your options now?

Sarah was excited to start her new job. Fresh out of UT, accounting degree in hand, she had been heavily recruited and was excited to land at a top firm. Her new job seemed interesting and the culture seemed open and welcoming.

But Sarah was surprised when the staff--who seemed so friendly when she was interviewed--kept largely to themselves. While other women were asked to lunch by female co-workers, Sarah was summarily dismissed. Sarah figured it would just take time to break into the group. In the meantime, she had made friends with a man named Joe who was friendly and gregarious.

How much longer will "boys be boys" in Silicon Valley?

While known for cutting-edge technology, Silicon Valley is also famous for an old-school approach to corporate governance. A growing number of prominent male executives have faced accusations in recent years. Many resigned over allegations of sexist, hostile and predatory behavior directed at female contemporaries and employees.

As Silicon Valley finds ways to take much stronger action against executive misconduct, the list of those accused continue to grow. Currently, it is partially composed of former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and venture capitalists Justin Caldbeck, Dave McClure, Frank Artale and Fred Destin.

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?


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