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Houston Employment Law Blog

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.

A future of flexibility for private employees?

Earlier this month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed The Working Families Flexibility Act. Sponsored by U.S. Rep. Martha Roby of Alabama's 2nd District, H.R. 1180 would give private employees the choice between of receiving cash wages for overtime work or accruing comp time in lieu of that pay.

Are more protections for whistleblowers on the way?

The passage of the American Health Care Act in the House of Representatives recently dominated headlines. So much so that another bill found approval with much fewer members of the media noticing.

HR 657 would expand protection for federal government employees who witness a fellow staff member breaking the law or forced to violate the law themselves.

How to properly draft a noncompete agreement

To successfully run a business, you need to keep up with the competition in the industry. Keeping trade secrets secrets is a vital component of this. How can you do this if an employee who could access your trade secrets leaves the company? A noncompete agreement can help, but its terms must be reasonable to be legally valid. Here are some tips when drafting an agreement in Texas:

Strategic legal counsel for Texas employers

In the midst of high-stakes employment law disputes, employers need legal counsel with an understanding of the strategies used by both sides -- employers and employees.

Having an attorney with experience on both sides of the issues helps to ensure that you -- as a business owner -- are not caught by surprise and that your rights and interests are safeguarded every step of the way to a fair resolution.

Age discrimination before applying for a job?

Pounding the pavement to seek employment with a resume in hand has become passé at best. Today, job searches start with the click of a mouse or a swipe on a smart phone screen.

Older people still catching up with technology may struggle at first. Eventually, with or without help, they find websites that post jobs. Yet, many features of those sites seem to exclude people of a certain advanced age.

Why severance agreements are more complex than most employees realize

There is a natural tendency to assume that whenever the topic of a severance agreement is breached in connection with the impending departure of an executive- or management-level employee, matters will invariably turn contentious.

While it's true that higher-level employees and their employers often part ways on less than amicable terms, it's also equally true that the two sides are frequently willing and able to engage in productive discussions.   

Here's what you need to know about sexual harassment

The subjugation of one person by another sounds like something that should not be part of a civilized society. Sadly, those who desire to have power over another person often still do so. In the workplace, some co-workers, supervisors and managers use sexual harassment as their tool here in Texas and elsewhere.

Victims are often made to feel as though their jobs depend on giving in to or ignoring demands for sexual favors, unwanted sexual advances or other physical or verbal sexual conduct. The victim's work environment becomes hostile and intolerable, and the harassment continues despite the objections of the victim. Most people recognize two separate types of sexual harassment.

What qualifies as workplace discrimination?

Federal and state laws protect workers here in Texas and elsewhere from being denied employment opportunities based on certain characteristics over which they have no control. The U.S Department of Justice outlines certain types of workplace discrimination prohibited by law. If an employee believes that he or she faces discrimination for one of the following, legal action could be warranted.

An employer cannot discriminate against someone based on that person's race or skin color (for example, African American or Asian). If an individual is from another country, the law protects him or her from discrimination by an employer based on that fact. Sex discrimination occurs when an employer is biased against an employee based on gender, gender identity or because of pregnancy.

Did complaint of race discrimination cause retaliatory behavior?

It might seem odd to many Texas residents that in today's society, such a question even needs to be asked anymore. Nevertheless, a federal court in another part of the country needs to answer this question after a worker filed a complaint alleging that he suffered retaliation when he complained of race discrimination in his workplace. Discrimination of many types continues to occur here in Texas and elsewhere, and not enough employees are willing to take a stand against it for fear of being terminated, harassed or retaliated against.

The man who filed this lawsuit claims that his co-workers and supervisors consistently harassed him and made derogatory racial comments on a regular basis. When he attempted to complain about the behavior, his work environment grew hostile. In fact, he claims that he was demoted in retaliation for lodging a complaint with the company and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

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