Updates

Litigation of OSHA Death Cases and Retaliation Claims

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.


Is Your Non-Compete Agreement Enforceable?

Use of non-compete and non-solicitation agreements is on the rise.  Whether an agreement will be found enforceable will depend on state law, the specific language of the agreement, and the background facts.  Larry Stuart and Glen Rigby published an article entitled “Locking Up Employees with Non-Compete Agreements”in the November/December 2013 issue of Well Servicing magazine. Click here for a copy of the article.


Overtime Litigation On the Rise

Larry Stuart gave a presentation entitled “What’s New Pussycat?  The Perfect Storm of Overtime Litigation” at the 2013 Texas Total Rewards Conference, where he presented the results of Stuart PC’s study of overtime cases filed in the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, during 2013. The presentation addressed national and local trends and provided guidance regarding steps companies should consider to reduce the risk of claims and unpaid wage liability.  Click here for a copy of the presentation.


Handling Employees With Medical Issues

Employers know they must reasonably accommodate qualified employees who have disabilities, but what’s an employer to do when an employee’s medical condition or treatment protocol presents serious safety concerns?  The company must tread lightly and be prepared to gather accurate information and document its good faith efforts to work with the employee to identify possible solutions.  Stuart PC’s August 2013 newsletter details the EEOC ‘s interpretation of applicable standards and outlines steps employers should take to reduce the risk of claims.  Click here for a copy.


Effectively Managing Employee Performance

Most managers hate to manage and document employee performance problems, and many managers overstate the quality of employee performance when they perform annually reviews.  In doing so, managers may unknowingly set up and make it harder to defend discrimination and retaliation claims.  In their article “Documenting Employee Performance,” Cheri Thomas and Larry Stuart provide guidance for managers and HR professionals about how to manage employee performance and reduce the risk of claims.  Click here for a copy of the article.


Auditing Compensation Practices (June 2013)

With overtime collective actions and agency investigations of pay practices on the rise, employers should seriously consider auditing their compensation practices to ensure compliance with applicable legal standards and minimize risk.  Larry Stuart spoke at the 2013 Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Annual Conference in Chicago, Illinois, about compensation audit best practices and in September 2013 for a webinar sponsored by Thompson Media.  Click here for a copy of the SHRM conference presentation.


Hiring and Firing Employees

It is the age old problem:  managers want to act quickly, HR and legal professionals want to move slowly and carefully.  Most managers make staffing and disciplinary decisions without fully appreciating the legal issues implicated by their actions, including their own exposure to personal liability.  In their article “Hiring and Firing,” Hollie Reiminger and Larry Stuart detail issues managers and HR professionals should consider when making personnel decisions.  Click here for a copy of the article.


Managing Employees Who Have Medical Issues (May 2013)

With an older working population and more Americans being diagnosed and treated for medical and psychological issues, employers have their hands full navigating the requirements of the ADA, FMLA, workers’ comp, and unique state law rules and requirements.  Larry Stuart gave a presentation at the HR Houston Gulf Coast Symposium on Human Resources Issues entitled “Out Sick, or Sick of Work?  Managing Employees With Medical Issues” during which he educated HR professionals about recent legal developments and best practices relating to the handling of employees with medical limitations that impact work.  Click here for a copy of the presentation.


Employment Law Boot Camp

Larry Stuart conducted an “Employment Law Boot Camp” for managers attending the Association of Energy Services Companies (AESC) annual safety conference in Fort Worth, Texas.  The workshop provided practical insight for managers about legal standards applicable to employers in the energy sector and best practices to reduce legal risk.  Contact Larry for presentation materials.



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