Texas has largely avoided the wave of marijuana legalization sweeping the country and the accompanying legal complications that have come along for the ride. Those days may be numbered as the Texas Legislature recently passed a significant expansion of the state’s Compassionate Use Program. The program has been around since 2015 and allowed limited legal use of medical marijuana for certain epilepsy patients. In the 2019 Legislature, however, the law was significantly expanded to include multiple sclerosis, other seizure disorders, autism, cancer and other incurable neurodegenerative diseases like ALS, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and others. To qualify for legal cannabis, a patient must obtain a prescription from a qualified physician who is board-certified to treat the patient’s particular condition. The medical-grade cannabis products must contain low levels of THC and cannot be smoked. The law substantially expanded the number of licensed dispensaries and the use of this largely ignored law is expected to increase in Texas. Read more ›
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 ›
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 ›
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 ›
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 ›
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 ›
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.
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 ›
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 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 ›