Houston council faces deadline on repeal of equal rights ordinance

A ruling from the Texas Supreme Court gives the Houston City Council until August 24 to repeal the controversial Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) or place it on the November ballot.

The ordinance prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in addition to a list of other characteristics—sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, familial status, marital status, military status, religion, disability, genetic information, and pregnancy.

The law took effect June 27, but the state supreme court ruled on July 24 that the city council has until August 24 to either repeal the measure or put it to a citywide vote. Opponents of the ordinance collected signatures on a repeal petition after the council passed the measure in May 2014. At first, the city secretary said the opponents had enough signatures to force a vote. Later, many of the signatures were thrown out, but the supreme court decided the petition was properly certified.

read more…

Next phase of Houston’s equal rights law set

June 24, 2015 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

As of June 27, more employers will be covered by the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO). The ordinance adds to the protected classes covered under federal and state civil rights laws.

HERO took effect on June 27, 2014, covering employers with 50 or more employees. On June 27, 2015, the law will cover employers with 25 or more employees. On the next anniversary of the law, it will cover employers with 15 or more employees.

HERO protects employees from discrimination based on sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, familial status, marital status, military status, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, and pregnancy. Sexual orientation protection extends to both real and perceived sexual orientation.

read more…

Texas judge puts FMLA rule’s new definition of spouse on hold

March 27, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

For the time being, employers in states that don’t recognize same-sex marriage don’t have to comply with a new rule changing the definition of spouse under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The rule was to take effect on March 27, but a federal district judge in Texas issued a temporary injunction on March 26 in response to a challenge from the attorneys general in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Nebraska.

District Judge Reed O’Connor ruled that the states making the challenge showed a likelihood that they would prevail and that they would be irreparably harmed if the rule were allowed to take effect. If the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) rule is allowed to take effect, it will require employers covered by the FMLA to allow eligible employees to take leave under the Act to care for same-sex spouses.

read more…

Houston Equal Rights Ordinance to take effect

by Michael P. Maslanka

Houston employers need to be ready for the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), which will take effect June 27. The new law adds to the protected classes already covered under federal and state law. Here’s a look at the major aspects of the law.

Covered employers. During the first year, companies with 50 or more employees will be covered. On the first anniversary of the ordinance’s effective date, that number drops to 25. On the second anniversary, it drops to 15.

read more…

Court sets bar high for employer retaliation claims

June 24, 2013 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court made its second pro-employer decision of the day in a case involving the standard of proof an employee must meet in retaliation claims.

In University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar, the question was whether an employee must prove that the only reason his employer retaliated against him was because he engaged in protected activity (e.g., reporting harassment or filing a discrimination charge) or if he must prove that the protected activity was simply a “contributing factor” in the retaliation decision.

The Court held that the “but-for” standard of proof applies to retaliation claims, limiting employers’ exposure to liability. The Court issued its first pro-employer case of today in Vance v. Ball State University, which addressed the definition of “supervisor.”

Texas joins majority of country by passing Uniform Trade Secrets Act

by Mike Maslanka

On May 2, Governor Rick Perry signed the newly enacted Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act, which takes effect September 1. Texas is the 48th state to pass the law, proving that while Texas may not always be first, it is never last!

The law, put simply, is a big deal. It wipes away, with a stroke of the governor’s signature, all existing case law regarding misappropriation of trade secrets. So what will be a trade secret under the new law? “Information, including a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, process, financial data, or list of potential customers or suppliers.”

read more…

December 30 Deadline Looms in Vote for Top ‘Blawg’

December 20, 2011 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

Time is running out to cast your votes in the ABA Journal’s fifth Annual Blawg 100 contest to choose the most popular law blogs. To vote for your favorites, go to abajournal.com/blawg100 by December 30.

The blogs are divided into 12 categories, and voters are allowed 12 votes. But you are allowed to vote more than once in each category.

read more…

Categories: Arizona / Commentary / Delaware / Texas

Four ECN Blogs Make LexisNexis Top 25 Listing

September 15, 2011 - by: HR Hero Alerts 0 COMMENTS

Employers Counsel Network LogoFour employment law blogs published by law firms that are part of the Employers Counsel Network (ECN) have been named to the LexisNexis Top 25 Labor and Employment Law Blogs of 2011.

Those making the list are: read more…

Texas ‘Guns at Work’ Law Goes into Effect September 1

August 31, 2011 - by: HR Hero Alerts 1 COMMENTS

The new Texas state law that allows employees to bring guns to work, so long as they are secured in a locked vehicle, goes into effect September 1.

Senate Bill 321 was passed in the state legislature in May and was signed by Governor Rick Perry on June 17. The law allows employees who are licensed to carry a concealed handgun or otherwise are lawfully allowed to possess a firearm to have the weapon secured in a locked vehicle in an employer’s parking lot, garage, or other parking area provided for employees.

read more…

Categories: Texas

Tags: