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 »

Lessons to Be Learned: Verizon’s No-Fault Absence Control Policy Leads to the Biggest ADA Settlement Ever Achieved by the EEOC

As we have previously blogged,, the EEOC continues to target inflexible work policies, such as “no fault” absence control policies and “100% fit” return-to-work policies, that do not allow exceptions in cases where a reasonable accommodation may be necessary.  Recently the EEOC achieved its biggest ADA settlement ever – to the tune of $20 …read more »

In a Groundbreaking Decision, the Texas Supreme Court Substantially Broadens the Universe of Enforceable Noncompetes

For many years, Texas appellate courts have held that stock, stock options, and other similar forms of remuneration cannot be sufficient consideration for a covenant not to compete.  Instead, as the courts have generally held, only confidential information or specialized training may be sufficient consideration.  In one fell swoop, the Texas Supreme Court has now …read more »

NLRB Pursues Another Facebooking Case

As we reported in a previous post (, the National Labor Relations Board has lately been focusing on employee rights under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act, which protects “concerted” employee activities engaged in for “mutual aid and protection.”  Now, for the second time in less than a year, the Board is litigating …read more »

To the Employer, It’s “Insubordination”; To the NLRB, It’s Protected Conduct

In a presentation given to Houston employment lawyers last week, Martha Kinard – who is a Regional Director of the National Labor Relations Board – highlighted the Board’s continued focus on “protected, concerted activity,” an area of labor law that applies to unionized and non-unionized workplaces alike.  Although many non-union employers believe labor law doesn’t …read more »

Another Inflexible Work Policy Fails the ADA

In the past several years, the EEOC and plaintiffs’ counsel have successfully targeted certain blanket work policies for challenge under the ADA, such as absence control policies and “100% fit” return-to-work policies.  The latest such policy to come under attack is United Airlines’ policy mandating a full workweek for certain classifications of employees. According to …read more »

The Final GINA Regulations And Potential Acquisition Liability

More than a year after the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (“GINA”) was signed into law, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission published final regulations interpreting Title II of GINA (the employment provisions) on November 9, 2010.  The final regulations are a mixed bag for employers – providing specific guidance in some areas, but at the expense …read more »

Automatic Meal Period Deductions: “Proceed with Caution”

The “meal period,” although not required by Texas law, is another one of those simple workplace concepts in theory but, in practice, has generated legions of lawsuits, agency decisions, and perhaps a plaintiffs’ firm or two.  The recurring issue is whether a (non-exempt) worker should be paid for the meal period or not.  As a …read more »

Another Bill Addressing Worker Missclassification

2010 has now seen two significant pieces of legislation introduced to respond to the perceived problem of contractor misclassification.   In April, the Employee Misclassification Prevention Act was introduced, which seeks to deter misclassification through increased Department of Labor scrutiny and penalties.   Then on September 15, 2010, the Fair Playing Field Act of 2010 …read more »

Don’t Hold Your Breath for the New ADA Rules

The January 2009 amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act expanded the scope of the definition of “disability” to include far greater numbers of employees with impairments.  Since that time, we have all been waiting for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to re-write the regulations interpreting the ADA to conform to this new law.  Proposed …read more »