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Houston Employment Law Blog

Managers may be over-correcting after #MeToo

The #MeToo movement of 2017 broke considerable ground for sexual harassment awareness. Putting a human face to the victims and their stories proved to be extremely effective. Many individuals were shocked to see just how pervasive sexual harassment and similar crimes were nationally and among people that they know.

It has been roughly a year since the #MeToo campaign began and the effects are beginning to be felt. Insurance Journal recently reported on the findings of a survey from the Society For Human Resource Management and pointed out how the effects are taking hold

Study finds workplace harassment may have lasting health effects

In recent months and years, countless stories have emerged that paint a troubling picture of the extent to which people -- often women -- experience harassment in the workplace. In response, many employers have been revising their sexual harassment policies and ramping up their efforts to respond appropriately to complaints.

A recent study could give employers and employees alike even more incentive to address sexual harassment in the workplace and put a stop to it. According to the study, sexual harassment can leave women with lasting health problems.

Critical documents to retain when an employee takes FMLA leave

Employees who work for covered employers are often eligible to take job-protected leave for certain medical or family reasons under the Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA. As an employer, it is your responsibility to comply with these laws and destermine eligibility. 

This will require careful documentation and diligent record keeping. Not only can this protect an employer from FMLA lawsuits by employees, it can also make it easier to manage employment resources and project expectations. Therefore, employers would be wise to secure and review the following documents and information when an employee requests or takes FMLA leave.

Making it easier to enforce your non-compete agreements

Hiring new employees is no small decision for employers. Not only do they have to find the right person and make an attractive offer, they must also devote considerable resources to training that person and providing him or her with the tools they need to do the job.

If part of bringing a new person on board involves giving him or her access to confidential or sensitive information, then employers will also want to take the step of having that person sign a non-compete agreement.

What makes a termination wrongful?

Employers have to make some difficult, and sometimes unpopular, decisions when it comes to hiring, firing, promoting and demoting employees. And for the most part, employers have the right to make these decisions without having to justify them to others.

However, there are situations in which an employee claims that a termination or other decision was unlawful and in violation of his or her rights. Such allegations can lead to a wrongful termination claims.

Failure to count all compensable hours leads to overtime disputes

Many Texans work in jobs that involve odd, extended or irregular hours. In these situations, it can be particularly difficult to determine what hours are and are not compensable, which has a considerable impact on calculating hours for overtime purposes.

As this article from the U.S. Department of Labor explains, hours worked in excess of 40 per week by non-exempt employees are eligible for overtime time, so it is crucial to count hours accurately. Below, we examine some of the more common situations that cause confusion when counting number of hours worked.

Lawsuit: Timekeeping software contributed to overtime violations

Accurate wage and hour records are crucial to employers and employees alike. They are a critical piece of evidence in either building or disputing claims of unpaid wages or overtime, so ensuring there are proper procedures in place to track hours worked is vital.

Unfortunately, even with systems in place to keep these records, issues can still arise. For instance, recently, three nurses filed a lawsuit stating they were owed overtime due to an issue with the timekeeping software used by at least seven regional hospitals.

4 critical tips for responding to sexual harassment complaints

Sexual harassment in the workplace is currently a hot-button issue spanning all industries, from entertainment and politics to technology and medicine. Many companies are seeing increases in harassment reporting and lawsuits as a result of movements like #MeToo, which is why it is critical for all Texas employers to understand how to respond to complaints responsibly.

Below are four critical tips for responding to sexual harassment claims from employees. 

Employment ad targeting can lead to trouble

Workplace civil rights laws prohibit employers from discriminating against workers who are age 40 or older. However, one of the cornerstones of digital marketing and ad creation is to create a targeted demography, and one of those metrics is age.

According to National Public Radio, there are several lawsuits pending involving companies' targeted employment searches, particularly ones that appear to focus on younger potential employees. This targeting by companies like T-Mobile, Facebook and many others means that older workers may not see employment ads that younger workers would see.

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