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Employment Lawyer Network:

Michael W. Fox (Editor)

Texas Employment Law

(512) 344-4711

Click for Full Bio

Michael W. Fox, Esq., of Ogletree Deakins in Austin, has more than 30 years of experience representing employers. He has been Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 1980 and is a Fellow in the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. He has been regularly listed in the Best Lawyers in America in Labor and Employment Law, as a Texas Monthly ’Super Lawyer’ in employment litigation.

No need to tell employee why she was fired

When terminating an employee, you don’t necessarily have to explain the exact reason for your decision. However, you must still document your rationale at the time you decide to fire. If the employee sues, a court will want to see when and why you arrived at the decision, all documented at the time.

Train executives on FLSA classification rules

Plaintiffs’ lawyers love to file lawsuits alleging an employee was improperly classified as a manager under the Fair Labor Standards Act. That’s because just one misclassification mistake can force employers to pay out hundreds of thousands of dollars in back pay and penalties. Avoid that fate by training everyone with the authority to set job duties, schedules and pay how to properly classify workers as either exempt or hourly.

Firing during FMLA leave? Prove FMLA wasn’t reason

Employees cannot be fired for taking FMLA leave. If you must terminate someone who has taken FMLA leave, be prepared to show it had nothing to do with their leave-taking. Do that by contemporaneously documenting what led to the termination and when you made the decision to fire.

Warn bosses about bias against addiction disability

Refusing to hire someone because of the nature of their disability violates the ADA. That includes making harsh judgments about applicants who may have a disability related to addiction. It doesn’t matter whether the disability was triggered by the individual’s arguably poor choices.

Apply leave policy equally to all employees

You probably have a well-defined leave policy that gives employees time off for vacations, illness and tending to personal business. Whether you provide separate pots of leave or lump it all into paid and unpaid time off, your leave policy must treat all employees equally.

DACA overturned, current permit holders can remain

A federal court has ruled that the federal government’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was established illegally. If you employ people who hold DACA work permits, the ruling could affect your staff members.

Manage FLSA basics: minimum wage and OT

Managing a restaurant is tough these days. Staffing is next to impossible. Wages are rising. New covid-19 safety rules have added layers of extra costs. Those are just the new complications. But all the old requirements remain, too, such as complying with the wage-deduction and overtime rules covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Poor time records? Court will believe workers

Sloppy or incomplete payroll records will doom you in any disputes over employees’ pay. As this new ruling shows, if your organization fails to show detailed records or policies—especially about disputed off-the-clock work—the court will use your employees’ estimates of their work hours to determine your liability.

Supreme Court won’t hear racial slur case

Can employers be liable for the single use of an offensive word? A disgruntled employee wanted the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on that question, but justices on May 17 declined to take his case.

Cost of denying pregnancy leave: $146,000

When an employee has pregnancy complications that might delay her return to work, consider offering additional leave. In addition to the FMLA, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act may compel employers to accommodate pregnant employees by granting time off.