Do Employees Have to Return Severance Pay Before Filing Suit Under Title VII and the EPA?

Many employers have had employees sign separation agreements releasing all claims in exchange for severance pay.  But what happens when an employee signs a separation agreement and receives severance pay, but then changes her mind, alleging that she was pressured into signing the agreement and that the release is invalid, and decides to pursue her […]
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Student Loans and 401(k)s: IRS Private Letter Ruling Opens the Door to a New Recruitment Strategy for Employers

Today I break from the newsletter’s traditional format of discussing an in-depth labor and employment legal issue to write on a topic of widespread application and an issue of personal interest to me – student loans, and a great new benefit employers may provide related to them courtesy of the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”). The […]
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Five Tips for Better, Less Risky Terminations

Involuntary terminations can be tough to do well. Even when discharge is clearly warranted—such as in egregious for-cause situations—few managers are eager to sit down with an employee to deliver the bad news. And even fewer are interested in becoming expert in the art of letting someone go. But this doesn’t mean that termination discussions […]
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San Antonio Joins Austin in Passing a Paid Sick Leave Law—But Will These Laws Survive, and What’s Next for Paid Sick Leave?

On August 16, 2018, San Antonio joined Austin to become the second major city in Texas to pass a paid sick leave ordinance.  The law allows workers to earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked in San Antonio, up to a maximum of 64 hours of paid leave each year […]
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The EEOC’s Focus on Harassment in the Workplace Continues with Seven More Lawsuits Filed in August 2018

Have you visited the EEOC website lately?  Featured prominently at the top of the Home page is a section titled “What You Should Know: What to Do if You Believe You Have Been Harassed at Work” and a link that sets out detailed (but common sense) instructions for handling harassment in the workplace.  The EEOC […]
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Tips for Avoiding Form I-9 Problems in Light of Increasing ICE Audits

President Trump based his campaign platform in part on immigration reform. Early in his presidency, he authorized the hiring of 10,000 additional Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents and promised greater enforcement of existing statutes. More recently in October 2017, Acting Director of ICE, Thomas Homan, announced that in order to eliminate the “magnet” of […]
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Four Things Every Employer Needs to Know about Texas’s Anti-SLAPP Law

In 2011, Texas Governor Rick Perry signed into law the Texas Citizens Participation Act (the “TCPA”). The TCPA is Texas’s version of a category of laws, now on the books in many states across the country, intended to curb “strategic lawsuits against public participation” (so-called “Anti-SLAPP statutes”)—in other words, lawsuits that weaponize litigation to chill […]
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FMLA vs. FLSA: The DOL Weighs in on Whether Employers Need to Compensate FMLA-Protected Rest Breaks

After a nine year hiatus, the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor (“DOL”) recently resumed its longstanding practice of issuing opinion letters to help employers in interpreting laws like the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) and the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). In an April 12, 2018 press release issued by […]
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Being on Leave Makes Current Employees Unemployed: Texas Supreme Court’s Counterintuitive Unemployment Act Decision

Usually disputes over unemployment focus on whether a former employee was fired for work-connected misconduct or quit for a good enough work-connected reason. But when exactly is a person unemployed, so that he or she can file for unemployment in the first place? The Texas Supreme Court’s answer: an individual “qualifies as unemployed so long […]
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Recent Case Shows Risks When Employers Fail to Sign Their Own Signature Blocks

Employment agreements—such as employment contracts, confidentiality agreements, restrictive covenant agreements, arbitration agreements, and others—often contain signature blocks for both the employee and employer.  Even when employers procure the employee’s signature, in many cases the employer signature block is left blank.  Does this pose a problem when the employer attempts to enforce the agreement? A recent […]
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