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December 2012 Archives

Pre-Employment Credit Checks: OK Under Texas Employment Law?

Have you ever wondered what the law says about employers who conduct credit checks prior to hiring? Is it a legal practice?

On the surface, it looks harmless. But of you dig deeper, you’ll notice that it isn’t necessarily that harmless a practice. Particularly when you look at the impact that a credit check could have on overall hiring.

In some cases, pre-employment credit checks can even amount to discrimination.

New LGBT Anti-Discrimination Law Isn't Only Legal Avenue for LGBTs

How large of an impact can anti-LGBT discrimination laws have in Texas? According to The Dallas Voice, more than 400,000 workers in Texas fit into the LGBT category -- that's to say, more than 400,000 workers in Texas are lesbians, gays, bisexuals or transgender individuals.

As a result, the recent bill banning discrimination against LGBT workers would have far reach in Texas. The bill is up for discussion in the impending session in the Texas Legislature. It was introduced by state Rep. Mike Villarreal of San Antonio.

Workplace Bullying Can Create a Hostile Work Environment

Workplace bullying is a problem. It's more common a problem than many people realize.

At times, it can even amount to being illegal and can lead to a lawsuit. But what many employers aren't aware of is that while not all claims are actionable, an angry employee can nevertheless try to sue for discrimination, leading the employer through a mess of legal issues in an attempt to throw the case out.

In short, even a frivolous case is still a waste of everyone's time, and can be a huge nightmare.

Here's a startling research finding: A new study suggests that many people who face workplace bullying end up on anti-depressants, reports ABC News.

Workplace Holiday Gifting: Is It Appropriate?

The holidays are here, and gifts are flying off the shelves at local retailers. So now would be the time to get gifts for your coworkers, employees or even (gasp) your boss.

Tread cautiously! While gifting might seem innocent, it's not always the smartest move to make. It might seem wise to give gifts to coworkers or to employees, but it's not always appropriate, writes The Houston Chronicle.

The same goes for your boss.

Will the Fiscal Cliff Hurt New Hiring?

The economy is improving and so is the job rate. According to The Associated Press, the United States economy added 146,000 jobs in November. As a result, the unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent.

That’s the lowest it’s been in years, going back to December 2008, when the economy was in the midst of freefall. These statistics come from a Labor Department report on the economy.

Interestingly, new hiring remained steady, despite the approaching fiscal cliff.

Katy Woman Sues Employer for Age, Gender, Disability Discrimination

Throw as many allegations as you can and hope one of them sticks -- that's one strategy used by employment attorneys, but is it a good one? A Katy woman is alleging that she was discriminated against by her employer, reports The Southeast Texas Record.

The woman, Cheryl D. Ashley, claims that her employer, McGrifff, Siebels & Williams Inc, discriminated against her on the basis of age, disability and gender. She was hired in 1993 and claims that she performed consistently at a "high level."

In 2009, she underwent an operation that affected her ability to travel abroad. She claims was dismissed without any real cause on July 21, 2011.

Houston Police Dept To Pay $300K in Retaliation Lawsuit

Retaliation doesn't always happen to the person filing the complaint. And in order for an employee to win a retaliation lawsuit, that employee doesn't need to be the one who filed the discrimination charges, according to a recent Texas decision.

The Houston Police Department must pay $378,000 to a young policeman after they allegedly retaliated against him for a complaint filed by his father and thirty other Hispanic men, reports The Houston Chronicle.

Woman Sues Greenberg Traurig, Claims Gender Disparity

You don't shake up the big-boys' club. People say the unwritten rule in big law firms is "you don't bite the hand that feeds you."

But every so often, someone has to step up and change things. With gender disparity rampant in high-power industries, you would think lawsuits would be more prevalent.

A former partner is bringing a discrimination lawsuit against Greenberg Traurig law firm, reports The Phoenix Business Journal. Greenberg Traurig has a Houston office as well.

Hispanic Man Sues SuperMedia Sales For National Origin Discrimination

A Houston man has filed a discrimination lawsuit against SuperMedia Sales Inc., reports The South East Texas Record.

The man, Juan Vasquez, claims that the was the target of mistreatment which occurred as the result of his Hispanic heritage. His lawsuit, which is brought in federal district court, cites allegations that he was made fun of for his first name and that he was often mocked by coworkers, to the knowledge of management, regarding his heritage.

He worked at SuperMedia as a media consultant in the Internet sales group in 2009.

COBRA: Is Your Employer Subject to It?

Since Obamacare was signed into law, there’s been much talk of health care and employment. People have been arguing that small businesses will suffer from Obamacare and that the government is interfering with small businesses and employment by mandating health coverage.

What many don’t realize is that the government had its hands in health care for years, when it passed a law called COBRA.

COBRA or the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, is very important for people to know — both for employers and for employees. It’s an extension of health coverage that certain employees are entitled to, in the event that they lose their job.