Texas federal court fast-tracks suit challenging DOL’s overtime rule

October 20, 2016 - by: Kate Tornone 0 COMMENTS

A federal district court has agreed to fast-track a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) new overtime regulation. The court has scheduled oral arguments for November 16, just two weeks ahead of the rule’s December 1 effective date.

The rule will more than double the salary threshold for employees. Employees earning less than $913 per week ($47,476 annually) will have to be classified as nonexempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) overtime requirements, regardless of whether they meet any of the duties tests.

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Employers praise injunction blocking new ‘persuader’ rule

June 27, 2016 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

An injunction blocking the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) new “persuader” rule is drawing praise from employer interests concerned that the new rule would stifle their efforts to respond to union organizing campaigns.

The rule change was scheduled to take effect July 1, but a preliminary injunction issued June 27 prohibits enforcement pending final resolution of a lawsuit challenging the rule’s constitutionality. Senior U.S. District Judge Sam R. Cummings of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas issued the injunction after hearing arguments during a June 20 hearing. The scope of the injunction is nationwide.

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Texas employers need to be ready for new open carry law

by Laurianne Balkum

A new Texas law allowing individuals with a concealed handgun license to openly carry a gun in a shoulder or hip holster takes effect January 1, but many employers will find they are able to restrict the open carrying of handguns if they so desire.

The new law allows individuals to openly carry handguns in public places, but private places may prohibit handguns. Employers that are private businesses can create and enforce handbook policies that prohibit the carrying (concealed or open) of guns into their workplace.

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Categories: HR Hero Alerts / Texas

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Houston fails to adopt HERO

by Jacob Monty
Monty & Ramirez, LLP

On November 3, Houston voters decided the fate of a controversial equal rights law by voting against the adoption of Proposition 1, the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO).

The ordinance attempted to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in city employment, services, and contracts; public accommodations; and private employment and housing. In addition, HERO would have banned discrimination based on sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, familial status, marital status, military status, religion, disability, genetic information, and pregnancy.

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Houston Equal Rights Ordinance going on November ballot

Voters in Houston will decide the fate of the controversial Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) when they go to the polls in November. On August 5, the Houston City Council decided to put the measure on the ballot after the Texas Supreme Court ruled on July 24 that the council had to either repeal the ordinance or put it to the voters.

The city council passed HERO in May 2014, but the ordinance was the target of a petition drive to have it repealed. At first, the city secretary said opponents of the measure 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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