Category Archives: Policies & Practices

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Comments on Austin's Proposed Sick Leave Ordinance

With the vote on the proposed sick leave ordinance in Austin coming Feb. 15, we asked Fred Sultan, a member Gardere’s labor and employment group in Austin, on what local employers need to know. Here are Fred’s main takeaways: The City of Austin’s proposed sick-leave ordinance clearly has implications for private employers that do not … Continue reading this entry

Senate Confirms Acosta as Next Secretary of Labor

On April 27, 2017, the U.S. Senate confirmed Alexander Acosta as the next U.S. Secretary of Labor by  vote of 60-38.  Acosta is a former U.S. Department of Justice and National Labor Relations Board member.  Secretary Acosta will now face the monumental task of coordinating Trump’s policy shifts within the department.  A key issue demanding his … Continue reading this entry

Proposed Texas Legislation Would Limit Employers’ Ability to Use Employees’ and Job Applicants’ Credit Information

Texas State Representatives Terry Canales (District 40, serving part of Hidalgo County) and Nicole Collier (District 95, serving part of Tarrant County) have proposed legislation related to employers’ consideration of credit information for employees and job applicants.  HB 317 amends Chapter 52 of the Texas Labor Code by generally prohibiting a covered employer’s use of … Continue reading this entry

Texas Legislator Proposes Bill to Protect Workers' "Political Beliefs"

Last week, Representative James White, a Republican representing District 19 (Hardin, Jasper, Newton, Polk, and Tyler Counties), proposed a new state law that would protect Texas workers from adverse actions for expressing their political opinions and views away from the job.  The key provision of the proposed legislation defines “political beliefs” to include “only” those beliefs … Continue reading this entry

Top 5 Mistakes Employers Make with Their Employee Handbooks

As 2016 winds down and a new year approaches, now is a great time for employers to think about their employee handbooks and employment policies in general.  As employers go about that thought-process, here are a few common mistakes employers should try to avoid: (1) Self-Regulation:  Employers often include items in handbooks that are not … Continue reading this entry

OSHA Update—Texas Judge Denies Injunction Against Enforcement of Anti-Retaliation Provisions of Final Rule

On November 28, 2016, Judge Sam Lindsay in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas denied an employer group’s request for a nationwide injunction against the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s enforcement of certain anti-retaliation provisions in the new final rule.  As we reported previously on the Work Knowledge Blog, the … Continue reading this entry

Legal Considerations for Employers during Election Years—Reminder

With Election Day rapidly approaching next week, employers should be prepared for a host of issues associated with election year politics in the workplace.  We recently wrote about some of the key issues facing employers in election years on the Work Knowledge Blog.  As a reminder about those issues, here are links to the related posts: … Continue reading this entry

OSHA Update—OSHA Issues Enforcement Guidance on New Reporting and Anti-Retaliation Provisions

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) has issued a memorandum to its Regional Administrators and published a new webpage outlining its planned enforcement of the new reporting and anti-retaliation provisions.  The agency’s guidance does little more than restate and expound upon what it has already provided in previous documents, such as in the 2012 … Continue reading this entry

OSHA Update—Proposed Revisions Intended to Modernize Various OSHA Standards

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) recently announced that it is proposing eighteen revisions to its recordkeeping, general industry, maritime, and construction regulations.  With the changes proposed, OSHA intends to modernize certain standards that may be “confusing, outdated or unnecessary.”  These proposed revisions are the fourth part of the Standards Improvements Project, which started … Continue reading this entry

New OSHA Rule May Require Changes to Employer Drug Testing Policies

Does your company have a blanket, post-accident drug testing policy?  Employers with this type of drug testing policy are concerned that they may run afoul of a new Occupational Safety and Health Administration Final Rule, which OSHA is set to begin enforcing on November 1, 2016. The final rule, which went into effect on August 10, 2016, … Continue reading this entry

Legal Considerations for Employers during Election Years—Part III

With the Presidential election heating up, employers may see an increasing interest in politics among their employees.  As we have covered recently in the Work Knowledge Blog, private employers are not bound by the First Amendment’s right to free speech.  But employees do have certain limited rights in the workplace relevant in election years, including … Continue reading this entry

OSHA Update—Delayed Enforcement of Anti-Retaliation Provisions for New Reporting Rule

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) has announced that it will delay enforcement of the anti-retaliation provisions in its new workplace injury and illness reporting rule.  Originally, it was scheduled to go into effect on August 10, 2016, but enforcement of the anti-retaliation provisions will now begin on November 1, 2016.  OSHA stated that … Continue reading this entry

Legal Considerations for Employers during Election Years—Part II

With the Republican National Convention wrapping up this week, political conversation is assuredly becoming a more common occurrence in workplaces around the country.  Importantly for employers, political action and speech in the workplace threatens disruption and damage to relationships among coworkers, as the political divisions in this country are exceedingly acute this campaign season.  This … Continue reading this entry

Legal Considerations for Employers during Election Years—Part I

According to the Texas Secretary of State, 73.75% of the voting age population in Texas is registered to vote this year.  Tex. Sec’y of State, Turnout and Voter Registration Figures (1970-current), available here.  Frankly, an even higher percentage probably has an opinion about a candidate or issue, regardless of whether they will cast a vote.  … Continue reading this entry

OSHA Update—Tips for Surviving OSHA Inspections—Part II

Last week, we outlined that OSHA’s proposed appropriations language revisions for FY 2017 may signal increased inspections, particularly PSM audits, for certain employers in Region 6, which includes Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, and New Mexico.  Employers have an opportunity to get and stay prepared now for this possible inspection glut.  To that end, over the … Continue reading this entry

OSHA Update—Tips for Surviving OSHA Inspections—Part I

With all the changes from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) over the last year or so, employers need to get prepared for increased inspections and safety audits in the near future.  This is especially true with the appropriations language revisions OSHA has proposed for FY 2017.  OSHA’s stated purpose for its proposal is, among … Continue reading this entry

WARN Act Claims Fail Against Oilfield Drilling Company

Today a Dallas federal court found that the WARN Act did not apply to drilling land rigs aggregated within a particular region. A Dallas firm has sued several drilling companies claiming proper WARN notice was not provided to laid off oilfield workers. The court did not rule on whether the rigs could be aggregated with … Continue reading this entry

OSHA Update—RAGAGEP Standard Interpretation

On May 11, 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) issued a Standard Interpretation on the topic of Recognized and Generally Accepted Good Engineering Practices (“RAGAGEP”) in Process Safety Management (“PSM”) Enforcement.  This new interpretation replaces an interpretation of the same title dated June 5, 2015.  In replacing it though, OSHA does not make … Continue reading this entry

OSHA Update—Final Rule on Workplace Injury and Illness Reporting

On May 11, 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) announced that it has finalized a new recordkeeping and reporting rule for certain employers.  At its core, the new rule amounts to what many employers are sure to view as OSHA’s attempt to shame them publically.  That is, the new rule requires covered employers … Continue reading this entry

OSHA Update—Eye and Face Protection

On March 25, 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) announced that employers across various industries will be subject to updated eye and face protection standards.  The final rule became effective on April 25, 2016, and revised related requirements in the general industry, maritime, and construction standards.  Employers subject to these standards should assess … Continue reading this entry

OSHA’s Stronger Enforcement Options in 2016

In recent years, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) has faced perceived criticism that its enforcement options have failed to provide effective disincentives for employers to comply with workplace safety regulations.  Specifically, for the last twenty-five years, OSHA’s maximum penalties have remained stagnant, and published data shows that criminal referrals are limited.  But it … Continue reading this entry

United States Department of Labor Intensifies Focus on Independent Contractor Classifications with New Administrator's Interpretation

Last month, the United States Department of Labor issued Administrator’s Interpretation No. 2015-1, regarding “The Application of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s ‘Suffer or Permit’ Standard in the Identification of Employees Who Are Misclassified as Independent Contractors.”  While the Interpretation does not represent a change in the law, it is certainly an indication that the … Continue reading this entry