Category Archives: Policies & Practices

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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

Texas Governor Mandates State Contractors Use E-Verify

Texas Governor Rick Perry issued an Executive Order mandating the use of the E-Verify system by all contractors performing services to Texas agencies under the oversight of the governor.  The order was announced on December 3, 2014, during a press conference by Governor Perry addressing border security. The Executive Order imposes two requirements as a … Continue reading this entry

The FCRA: A Battle on Two Fronts for Employers

As if employers were not already faced with enough headaches from employment-specific federal statutes, such as the Occupational Safety and Health Act or the Fair Labor Standards Act, they also have to consider the effect of other statutes, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”).  The FCRA applies to any entity that uses “consumer report[s]” … Continue reading this entry

Being a HERO: Six Things You Need to Know About the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance

It’s been described as “an opportunity for sexual predators to have access to our families” and “an historic non-discrimination ordinance.” But rhetoric aside, the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (“HERO”) is the law in the Bayou City. So what’s it mean for your business? You can (and should) read the complete ordinance, but here are six … Continue reading this entry

Union and Non-Union Employers Must Review Their Employee Handbooks in Light of Recent NLRB Developments

The National Labor Relations Board recently challenged many common employee handbook provisions on the grounds that they violate employees’ protected rights under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act.  The challenged handbook provisions include restrictions on social media; restrictions on discussions of wage, benefits and related information; at-will provisions; and standards of behavior policies. … Continue reading this entry

Are You Indemnified? Don't Be So Sure.

The San Antonio Court of Appeals limits an executive indemnity provision that the parties intended to “provide as broad an indemnity as possible.” Most executives assume that they won’t be on the hook personally for acts committed in their corporate capacity.  This assumption is based on good reason: executive employment contracts routinely require the company … Continue reading this entry

5th Circuit Rejects NLRB's Position on Class/Collective Action Waivers

On December 3, 2013, in a landmark decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (“Fifth Circuit”) in D.R. Horton, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board, rejected the argument that the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) banned class and collective action waivers in employment arbitration agreements.  This decision overturned the National Labor Relations … Continue reading this entry

What Employers Should Know About Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Yesterday, the Senate approved the Employment NonDiscrimination Act (“ENDA”).  The ENDA would amend Title VII to include sexual orientation and related issues in the definition of protected classes.  Political pundits do not give the ENDA much chance of passing the House.  This is nothing new.  The ENDA has been proposed periodically in Congress since 1994 and has failed … Continue reading this entry

Yahoo! Takes A Step Back - No Telecommuting?

Less than a year ago, I blogged about Yahoo!’s headline making hire of a pregnant CEO, Marissa Mayer.  She took an abbreviated leave and worked from home during that abbreviated leave.  Now, despite the technology that permitted her to work from home during that leave, Yahoo! has abolished its telecommuting policy and has required all employees to report to … Continue reading this entry

Will Mayer Show Us "How To Have it All"

Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, is making headlines this year because she was pregnant at the time Yahoo hired her to be CEO.  She made more headlines today because she announced an abbreviated maternity leave (only a few weeks and will work throughout that leave).  Her hiring and this announcement raise many issues facing most American … Continue reading this entry

EEOC Issues Revised Guidance on Use of Criminal Records in Employment Decisions

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently issued Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  This guidance is intended to help employers understand the EEOC’s policy relating to the use of such records by employers.  Although this guidance is not … Continue reading this entry

DOL Focuses on Rulemaking Agenda - What does this mean?

On February 13, 2012, Labor Solicitor M. Patricia Smith spoke at a seminar at the Practising Law Institute.  She stated that the DOL was focused on aggressively making rules rather than issuing guidance.  As an example, the DOL proposed new rules which would all but eliminate the “companionship services” exemption.  The proposal would give most … Continue reading this entry

Houston Court Rejects "Lactation Discrimination" Claim

Last week, a federal judge in Houston granted summary judgment to an employer being sued by an employee for pregnancy discrimination.  Specifically, the former employee alleged that she was terminated after asking if she would be able to use a back room to express milk when she returned from maternity leave.  The court found that lactation was not … Continue reading this entry

Roundtable Sparks FLSA Discussion

On January 25, 2012, Gardere’s Employment Attorneys hosted a roundtable for its Senior HR Executive and In-House Counsel clients.  The discussion centered around their most significant employment challenges in 2012.  Among the topics discussed were dealing with off the clock work which continues to be an area of significant risk to many employers.  Gardere attorneys … Continue reading this entry

Social Media in the Workplace: What Employers Need to Know

Whether it is through Facebook, texting, online chatting, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, or one of the many other channels available, people are flocking to social media in increasing numbers. As a result, social media’s reach has extended into the workplace, forcing employers to face a growing list of concerns stemming from employees’ use of these various … Continue reading this entry

Texas Employees May Now Bring Guns to Work

Texas employees will soon be allowed to bring guns onto company parking lots, parking garages and parking areas as long as the employee has a valid concealed hand gun license and the car is locked. The law allows employers to forbid employees from possessing guns or firearms in company buildings, but seems to allow for … Continue reading this entry