New Limits On General Personal Jurisdiction: Where Is An Out-of-State or Foreign Corporation “At Home”?

One of the first questions that must be asked (and answered quickly) when a lawsuit is filed in federal court is whether personal jurisdiction may be exercised over the defendant.  Personal jurisdiction may be predicated on either specific jurisdiction or general (or “all purpose”) jurisdiction.  Specific jurisdiction focuses on the defendant’s contacts with the state …read more »

Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Holds that Title VII and the PDA Cover “Lactation Discrimination”

In Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Houston Funding II, Ltd., No. 12-20220 (May 30, 2013), the Fifth Circuit ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (“PDA”) prohibit discrimination against women who are lactating or expressing milk. It held that lactation is a “related medical condition” to pregnancy and …read more »

Update Your Company’s Fair Credit Reporting Act Summary of Consumer Rights Form Prior to January 1, 2013

The government is changing your hiring process.  The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) requires that employees and job applicants provide written consent before an employer can use a third party credit reporting agency to obtain a credit report, including a criminal background check.  In addition, before an employer can take an adverse employment action …read more »

Common Sense Tips to Keep Your Company Out of the Courtroom

A couple of months ago, the South Texas College of Law held its annual, highly-regarded Employment Law Conference.  Three lawyers who represent employees talked about common mistakes they see employers make, and also what facts persuade them to bring lawsuits.  These plaintiffs’ lawyers talk to many employees about unfair treatment at work, but only a …read more »

SEC Declares Dodd-Frank Act Whistleblower Bounty Program “Open for Business,” Issues First Program Award

On August 21, 2012, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission awarded its first ever whistleblower bounty under the Dodd-Frank Act.  The bounty, awarded to a whistleblower who provided the Commission with documents and information that expedited its investigation of fraud on investors, was awarded just over one year after the SEC’s Dodd-Frank whistleblower regulations took …read more »

Recent Department of Labor Decision Makes Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblower Retaliation Complaints a Concern for Private Firms that Contract with Public Companies

Spinner v. David Landau & Associates, ARB Case Nos. 10-111, 10-115 (May 31, 2012) is only the most recent in a series of Department of Labor Administrative Review Board (“ARB”) decisions expanding the anti-retaliation protections afforded employees under section 806 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (“SOX”).  What makes Spinner significant is the fact that it is …read more »

EEOC Issues Guidance Document on Use of Criminal Histories in Employment Decisions

On April 25, 2012, the EEOC issued a Guidance document addressing employers’ consideration of arrest and conviction records in employment decisions.  See  While purporting not to change the Commission’s longstanding policy approach to this issue – and while it is not binding precedent on the courts – the Guidance offers employers clarification and new …read more »

DOL Issues Revised FMLA Forms

The U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued revised Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) forms at the end of February 2012 to replace the old forms that expired at the end of 2011.  There are no substantive changes to the revised forms other than a new expiration date of February 28, 2015.  Contrary to expectations, the …read more »

Use Of Criminal Convictions In Hiring: What’s All The Confusion?

A Trip Through Time: Since its first pronouncement on the topic in 1972, the EEOC has taken the position that policies prohibiting hiring persons with a criminal record may disparately impact certain minorities in violation of Title VII. To defend against disparate impact claims, an employer must demonstrate that the use of conviction records is …read more »

Did You Know About These Workplace Laws?

What is “at-will” employment really?  In a sentence, an employer can discharge or discipline an employee for any reason, whether it is a “good” reason or a “bad” one, so long as it is not an unlawful reason.  Most Texas employers (and employees) are familiar with the usual list of “unlawful reasons” like race, gender, …read more »