Is It Illegal To Consider A Foreign Accent When Evaluating Candidates For a Customer-Service Job?

Yes, unless the candidate’s language skills would clearly interfere with their ability to do the job.

Amidst all of the current controversy concerning immigration in the United States, the experience of immigrants in the workplace is also receiving heightened attention. The truth is, immigrants, including those who have become U.S. citizens, often have different workplace experiences than native-born Americans.  One such difference has to do with accents and how they can affect perceptions of competence. Read more ›

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Posted in Discrimination

Don’t Say That! … Or Do? New Court Guidance on Employer Statements in Union Organizing Campaigns

Misconceptions Here, There and Everywhere.

I often advise employers large and small on what to do (and what not to do) during union organizing campaigns. I am continually surprised at how many employers have misconceptions about the do’s and don’ts when a campaign is underway. I can’t tell you how many times clients have told me they thought that, under the law, when a union is campaigning to represent workers, managers and supervisors must maintain strict silence and not say anything about the pros and cons of unionizing. This simply is not true. Federal labor law legally protects employers’ right to speak out: Section 8 (c) of the National Labor Relations Act allows employers to express “any views, argument or opinion” as long as they do not make threats or promise benefits. Read more ›

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Posted in Labor & Employment, Union

Dallas Paid Sick Leave Ordinance – What You Need to Know


On July 30, 2019, two Dallas-area businesses filed a federal lawsuit to stop the Dallas Paid Sick Leave ordinance from going into effect on August 1. The lawsuit, brought by the Texas Public Policy Foundation on behalf of ESI/Employee Solutions, LP and Hagan Law Group LLC, argues the ordinance oversteps and is contrary to the Texas Constitution and the state’s minimum wage act. The lawsuit specifically asks for an injunction to stop the ordinance from going into effect. However, unless and until the court enters a preliminary injunction, the ordinance is still set to go into effect on August 1. We are closely monitoring these developments, and will provide an update when we have additional information.

Meanwhile, the City of Dallas has now provided a FAQ page (link HERE), that provides useful information on geographic limitations of the ordinance as well as answers to important questions regarding practical application of the new rules, using hypothetical scenarios from different employment arrangements and industries.

For those interested in whether their business is subject to the new ordinance, here is a link  to a searchable map of the boundaries of the City of Dallas, broken into its various districts (note that the city boundaries do not necessarily correspond with Zip Codes, and do not include the municipalities of University Park, Highland Park, or Cockrell Hill).

The Dallas City Council recently joined several other major Texas cities in passing a mandatory paid sick leave ordinance. The new rules (found in Chapter 20 of the Dallas City Code, and summarized in this memorandum from the City) are set to go into effect on August 1, 2019, for employers with 6 or more employees, and on August 1, 2021, for those with 5 or fewer employees. Although Dallas employers are encouraged to closely review the new rules and format internal policies accordingly, here is what you need to know to start that process: Read more ›

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Posted in Labor & Employment, paid sick leave

What Does Your Minnesota Business Need to do to Comply with Minnesota’s new Wage Theft Law?

Starting today, Minnesota has one of the toughest wage theft laws in the country. The civil portions of Minnesota’s new Wage Theft Law, effective July 1, 2019, require employers to take the following additional actions:

Read more ›

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Posted in Labor & Employment, State and Local Laws

Connecticut Passes Legislation Enhancing Employer’s Obligations Regarding Sexual Harassment Training and Notification to Employees

Connecticut has joined the growing number of states passing or enhancing laws aimed to deter sexual harassment in the workplace. On June 18, 2019, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed into law a bill entitled “An Act Combatting Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment” which expands Connecticut’s current sexual harassment training and notification requirements for employers. Read more ›

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Posted in Labor & Employment, Sexual Harassment, State and Local Laws

Hurricane Season Preparation Guide for HR Managers

It’s hurricane season, and companies all along the Gulf should have a plan in place not only to address business continuity issues, but also the human resources and staffing questions that arise in the event of a natural disaster like a hurricane or flooding event. Our firm has prepared the attached employer guide addressing these practical questions for employers, including:

– Legal protections for employees who are absent due to a disaster or evacuation order;
– Payroll obligations for exempt or non-exempt employees who are absent because of a disaster;
– Practical impact of on-call time or employees volunteering to help during a disaster;
– Communication plan for coordinating reopening of operations in the aftermath of a disaster;
– Leave rights related to caring for family members during a weather event; and
– Checklist for preparing a disaster preparation plan for the HR Department.

The key to successfully handling a natural disaster as an organization is having a plan in place before the event occurs. If your company doesn’t have a plan, now is an excellent time to prepare one. If you have one already in place, the start of hurricane season is a great time to dust off the plan and update it.



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Posted in Labor & Employment

Colorado becomes the 13th State to “Ban the Box” – Prohibiting Employers from Inquiring about Criminal Convictions on Initial Employment Applications

Colorado employers should review and, if necessary, revise job applications to remove questions about criminal history.

Colorado has joined a growing number of states and municipalities to pass “ban the box” laws, which prohibit employers from asking job applicants about criminal convictions on job applications. Read more ›

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Posted in Labor & Employment

In Pay, May All Be Created Equal…An Overview Of The Colorado Equal Pay for Equal Work Act

The News

On May 22, 2019, Colorado passed a new pay equity law which brings the state to the cutting edge of regulation in this area.

The Basics

The Act, which will take effect on January 1, 2021, prohibits discrimination because of sex (including gender identity) and provides that employers may not pay an employee of one sex less than an employee of another sex for substantially similar work (measured as a composite of skill, effort, and responsibility).  The Act allows employers to avoid liability for pay disparities if they can show that the disparity results from: Read more ›

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Posted in Pay Equity

Update on Local Sick Pay Laws in Texas

The Texas legislative session has come to a close, and the much expected law banning cities from implementing sick leave ordinances and similar employment laws failed to make it to the Governor’s desk. The reason for the collapse of the proposed bill (which had broad support from Governor Greg Abbott and business groups) was perceived over-reaching in language that would have not only outlawed cities from passing sick leave laws, but any employment laws  — including prohibitions on sexual orientation and trans-gender discrimination. Since Texas has no such protections in its state anti-discrimination law, the only protections on the books are local ordinances; and lobbying groups came out in force to protect these ordinances. This controversy sank the chances of the bill passing; and since the legislature meets only every two years, this issue is likely going to be left to the state courts to decide.

As it currently stands, the Austin sick pay ordinance has been enjoined by a state appellate court from taking effect. That case appears to be headed to the Texas Supreme Court, which will decide whether the law is constitutional. San Antonio has also passed a sick pay ordinance, scheduled to take effect August 1, 2019 for businesses with more than 15 employees. The San Antonio City Council is currently considering whether to postpone the effective date of its law to allow the Austin ordinance to be reviewed by the Supreme Court. Not to be outdone, Dallas passed its own sick pay ordinance in April 2019 to take effect August 1, 2019 for employers with more than five (5) employees.  Notably, the law restricts the city from issuing penalties until April 2020, and there is a strong likelihood a lawsuit will be filed challenging its implementation, just like the one filed in Austin.

In sum, the Texas Legislature failed to bring some much needed clarity to this emerging trend of cities in Texas passing employment laws.  The issue will be left for the courts to decide, and it is uncertain how long that will take or where the cases will ultimately end up for Texas employers.

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Posted in Benefits, Labor & Employment, Wage and Hour

Nine Questions Answered About the Proposed Chicago Fair Workweek Ordinance

The proposed Chicago Fair Workweek Ordinance, introduced in the City Council on May 29, 2019, would require certain Chicago employers to publish employees’ schedules two weeks in advance and limit their ability to change employees’ schedules or impose mandatory overtime and impose new record-keeping requirements. If enacted in its current form, the ordinance would take effect on April 1, 2020. Read more ›

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Posted in Labor & Employment, Wage and Hour
About HR Headaches
HR Headaches is a blog for Human Resources professionals, business owners, and in-house counsel to get the latest news, analysis and tips in the area of labor and employment law. Every day there are new court decisions, agency interpretations, and regulations which affect the workplace, making it difficult, if not impossible, for many employers to keep current. HR Headaches is dedicated to providing information in a practical, no-nonsense manner to help employers avoid legal disputes and keep policies up to date.
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