All Dallas business owners should appreciate and understand the basics of employment law in Dallas, TX. Although most businesses make every effort to follow the laws and treat their employees with respect, even the most well-intended owners and managers may find themselves on the wrong end of an employment lawsuit. Simon | Paschal PLLC represents employers in all types of employee lawsuits, and to raise employer awareness, we present this information about the most common types of employment lawsuits.
Employment Law in Dallas TX – Types of Employment Lawsuits
1. Discrimination Suits
Discrimination suits are suits brought by employees who allege that they were treated adversely because they are members of a protected class. Discrimination can be claimed if the employee claims that he or she suffered an adverse employment action (termination, demotion, missing out on promotions and raises), despite the adequacy of his/her performance, because of his/her:
Employers should be aware of what constitutes a protected class under the U.S. Constitution, the Texas Constitution, and other federal and state laws. In Texas, sexual orientation and marital status are not protected classes, but everything protected under federal law is also protected under Texas law. Management and all employees should be consistently reminded of how to conduct themselves at work.
2. Workplace Harassment Suits
Harassment suits can occur when the actions of coworkers or managers create a hostile work environment through enduring and pervasive bad conduct that results in adverse employment actions. According to the EEOC, harassment can involve threats of violence, verbal abuse, passing on obscene photos, and even making offensive jokes. Employers should train all management regarding what kind of communications are appropriate to use with staff, and the employee handbook should be very specific about how employees should treat one another.
3. Whistleblower Suits
Whistleblower suits, also called retaliation suits, are very serious events. If an employee “blows the whistle” – that is, if he reports the company to the authorities or takes some other action against the company for the company’s alleged violations of law – the company cannot treat him adversely as a result. An employee who reports a factory for safety violations, for example, cannot be demoted, harassed or fired because he made the report. If an employee reports the company to law enforcement or a regulatory authority, the company should immediately contact counsel before taking any action toward the employee.
4. Wage and Hour Disputes
Wage and hour disputes can occur if an employee claims he or she was not paid for the hours he/she worked; that he/she did not receive overtime to which he/she was entitled, or that he/she did not receive the appropriate breaks. Both the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and the Texas Payday Law protect employees, but the Texas Workforce Commission offers tips to reduce wage and hour disputes: keep good records, use wage agreements, maintain proper recordkeeping procedures and documentation of hours worked, and enforce work schedules.
Employers need to stay on top of employment law. Dallas, TX law firm Simon | Paschal PLLC can assist employers with drafting employee handbooks, fine-tuning policies and procedures, maintaining proper wage and hour records, and advising employers on what actions to take if a situation gets out of hand. Business owners who are concerned about employment law in Dallas, TX or are facing a possible action should call us today at (972) 893-9340 or visit our website at www.simonpaschal.com for more information.
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