In today's political and social climate, it is increasingly more common to hear of people facing difficulties and harassment because of religious views. Unfortunately, this occasionally carries over into the workplace, where employees may find that they are targets of verbal abuse, inappropriate jokes and other offensive behavior simply because of their faith.
One of the most humiliating experiences an employee can have is to be mistreated based on the color of his or her skin. Race discrimination can affect a worker's psychologically by destroying his or her self-esteem. It can also prevent the individual from being able to advance at his or her company. Those in Texas who has faced this type of discrimination have the right to explore their legal options.
There are certain federal laws in place that protect workers in all 50 states. One of these laws is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Under the FLSA, employers are required to pay eligible workers overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek.
The overtime pay must be at least time and a half of their regular pay. The "workweek" is considered to be seven consecutive 24-hour periods. Working on weekends or holidays is not considered overtime unless it means the employee is working in excess of 40 hours.
Thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers are required to make reasonable accommodations for their employees with disabilities or illnesses. However, these accommodations are not always made, which leads to many, many lawsuits each year.
In some cases, large businesses have the correct policies in place, but they never properly train managers to practice those policies. A perfect example of this is a recent lawsuit in which a fired employee of Dollar General was awarded more than $275,000 in back pay and compensatory damages.
Parental leave has come a long way in the United States, but many would argue that it still has a long way to go. If you are expecting a child, you are probably wondering how long you can take off of work and whether you will continue to get paid or receive benefits during that time.
Unfortunately, Texas does not have any laws requiring parental leave. However, there is a federal law, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which may allow you to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave after having a child if you and your employer qualify.
How much leave does the FMLA provide?
The FMLA requires all employers included under the law to give eligible employees a total of 12 weeks of unpaid leave, which can be used for pregnancy disability or for parental leave. This means a woman who cannot work for the last three weeks of her pregnancy can have that time off and an additional nine weeks off after the baby arrives.
The leave applies to mothers and fathers of biological, adoptive, or foster children.
As you may have guessed, the answer to that question is more complicated than a simple yes or no.
First, it's important to keep in mind that most employment relationships are at-will. If you have not signed a contract with your employer, then your employer can generally fire you at any time for any reason.
However, federal law prohibits employers from firing workers in retaliation for reporting unsafe working conditions or filing workers' compensation claims. If an employer terminates a worker in retaliation, the worker may be able to file a civil lawsuit against the employer.
Since 2012 the U.S. Department of Labor has launched more than 1,100 investigations of wage violations in the oil and gas industry, where contracting and subcontracting have traditionally defined (and often obscured) the worker-employer relationship.
So far the Labor Department's investigations have led to the recovery of more than $40 million in unpaid wages for more than 29,000 workers nationwide.
Although the Fair Labor Standards Act guarantees overtime pay for employees, claims of unpaid overtime are relatively common in Texas. In fact, each year millions of dollars are paid to employees to resolve unpaid overtime lawsuits.
Here let's discuss some important aspects of the law that employers and employees should understand.
You might know that workplace retaliation is illegal in Texas, but many people, including employers, are not sure of what constitutes retaliation under the law.
In fact, there are multiple state and federal laws that protect employees from retaliation in the workplace. These laws apply to all local and state governmental employers and private companies with 15 or more employees:
- Chapter 21 of the Texas Labor Code
- The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
Sometimes employees and employers in Texas are not fully aware of their rights and responsibilities regarding deductions from wages. For example, there may be confusion as to whether an employer has the right to deduct wages when an employee violates company rules.
The Texas Labor Code -- and particularly the Texas Payday Law -- clarifies when deductions are allowed. Employers and employees should be aware that this law applies to private business entities of all sizes.