Employees’ increasing use of social media presents employers with difficult choices and shifting responsibilities and legal obligations. On October 12, 2018, Hollie Reiminger and Larry Stuart educated members of the Houston Bar Association about the benefits and pitfalls of using social media to investigate employees/candidates and responding to employee complaints about employees’ use of social media. The session also provided guidance about when to discipline employees for statements made on social media platforms and using social media posts as evidence in employment litigation. Click here for a copy of the presentation.
Glen Rigby gave a presentation entitled “Cutting Edge Issues and Other Interesting Developments in Employment Law” as part of the Houston Bar Association’s seminar series. The presentation addressed developing areas of employment law, such as employee surveillance and monitoring, policing social media, firearms in the workplace, gender discrimination, and workplace bullying. Click here for a copy of the presentation.
The DOL has announced long-awaited changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act overtime rules which significantly increase the minimum salary for exempt employees and change how companies can comply with the salary basis requirement.
On Monday, May 9, 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a new resource document entitled “Employer-Provided Leave and the Americans with Disabilities Act” which details the steps the agency believes employers must take to accommodate employees who need time away from work in connection with medical issues. Employers should be prepared to consider time off as a reasonable accommodation when employees need medical treatment or rehabilitation to enable them to perform essential job functions.
A new year brings new changes for employers with employees working in California, who are now subject to one of the most stringent equal pay laws in the country. Effective January 1, 2016, the California Fair Pay Act (“Act”) aims to shrink the gender wage gap by making several significant changes to California’s equal pay law. The Act provides greater protections to employees by broadening the scope of individuals who may be compared and by narrowing the factors an employer may rely on to justify a wage discrepancy. The Act also shifts to the employer the burden of proof to show that wage differences are not gender-based.
Employers continue to struggle with how best to respond to employees with medical issues who request accommodations. With the EEOC’s renewed focus on disability issues and pregnancy-related limitations, employers must take care to understand, handle, and document accommodation requests carefully. As detailed in Hollie Reiminger and Larry Stuart’s recent article in the April 6, 2015 issue of Texas Lawyer, employers should assume that although every accommodation request will be unique, having a standard way of responding to such requests will minimize legal risks.
Nobody likes a bad breakup. Getting closure with a terminated employee is getting harder thanks to recent actions by the EEOC and the NLRB challenging what many regarded as standard severance agreement language. On April 1, 2015, the SEC announced its first enforcement action against a company for using improperly restrictive language in confidentiality agreements. Employers should review their agreements to ensure they don’t run afoul of the latest agency enforcement positions, a topic addressed in a December 1, 2014 Texas Lawyer article authored by Cheri Thomas and Larry Stuart.
What’s a manager to do with employees who can’t do their jobs because of medical issues? Employers continue to struggle with how best to handle workers who seem to be more focused on their work limitations than on getting the job done. Managers with good intentions may expose themselves to personal liability and put their company at risk. As detailed in Ehsan Tabesh and Larry Stuart’s article entitled “Out Sick, or Sick of Work” in the March/April 2014 issue of Well Servicing magazine, managers should take time to understand and handle employee medical issues very carefully.
Classifying workers as contractors presents an array of legal risks. And with the DOL, IRS and state workforce agencies on the lookout for companies that have misclassified workers as independent contractors, companies should proceed with caution. Hollie Reiminger and Larry Stuart’s article in the January 2014 issue of Well Servicing details the legal standards and risks associated with use of independent contractors. Click here for a copy of the article.
As energy companies ramp up to meet production and staffing needs, the use of workers who are new to the industry and related safety concerns are on the rise, as is the frequency of workplace injuries and deaths. Cases that routinely would have been efficiently resolved in the past are now referred by OSHA to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution, raising the specter of more significant enforcement actions than in the past. Employers must also take care not to retaliate against employees who raise safety concerns. Larry Stuart gave a presentation about these issues at a conference sponsored by EUCI in January 2014. Click here for a copy of the presentation.