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Employee rights

Can I be fired for discussing politics at work? Dallas Employment Attorney Adam Kielich Explains

Dallas and Fort Worth employees have good reason to worry about how the polarized political climate may affect their jobs. Certainly changes in employment laws could have a meaningful change to employment in Texas. These could occur in changes to: civil rights protections for gay and transgender employees; minimum wage and overtime pay regulations; investment adviser fiduciary duties to retirement plans; protections against retaliation for social media activity under labor laws; reduced OSHA oversight; and changes to the ACA health care laws. Beyond these changes, Dallas and Fort Worth employees may face job problems merely for discussing political issues at work. If...

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Can my employer fire me for doing what my manager told me to do?

Here's a tricky situation: you follow a specific instruction from your manager or a company policy. Then your employer fires you. Can this happen for following orders? Unfortunately, in most cases the answer: yes. Seems bizarre--and it is--but this is the nature of the at-will employment relationship. In an at-will employment relationship the employer can discipline an employee, up to termination, for a bad reason--even no reason at all. The employer can fire you for doing exactly what it instructed you to do. This is among the most glaring proof that the at-will employment relationship is a legal fiction. Texas law treats the at-will employment relationship...

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Just been fired? Apply for unemployment benefits in Texas

If you are fired (aka discharged, terminated) from your job then one of your first acts in almost all cases should be to apply for unemployment benefits. Applying for unemployment benefits through the Texas Workforce Commission is free so even if denied benefits you have only lost the time applying. This is true even if your employer believes it had a legitimate reason to fire you. The TWC has specific standards for awarding unemployment benefits. The employer's reason for terminating your employment may not meet those standards. Sometimes employers do not defend against an unemployment benefit application. You can receive benefits...

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Dallas Employment Attorney’s 10 Signs You Should Not Take That Job

In a tough job market it's always difficult to turn down a job but sometimes the company culture is so toxic or the boss is so insufferable that it's more harmful to your health and career than the benefit of the paycheck. Of course, that's an easy thing to say when you have a paycheck. Many people go into bad jobs only to quickly find themselves wrongfully terminated or find the job insufferable. It's far better to identify those bad employment opportunities before you commit and forego other job opportunities. I worked a number of jobs before becoming an employment attorney and...

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Employees must engage interactive process in good faith for ADA failure to accommodate claims

ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and the Texas Labor Code require employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with qualified disabilities. A reasonable accommodation allows a disabled employees equal access to the workplace and allow them to perform the essential functions of their jobs. Many employers refuse to provide any reasonable accommodation. This results in a failure to accommodate claim under the ADA and Texas Labor Code. Under both federal and Texas law, employers are required to engage employees requesting a disability accommodation in good faith. Employers are also required to engage in an interactive process to determine the need for accommodation. Failing...

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Is Pokemon Go Putting Your Texas Job at Risk?

Over the weekend I was grocery shopping at my local Kroger. As I was loading my car I saw an employee wandering around the parking lot. I thought he was rounding up shopping carts. He got closer and I realized he was playing Pokemon Go. He was walking around face down in a parking lot in the dark, possibly on company time. This is not just teenagers. Adults make up a significant portion of the playing population. They engage in just as many risky behaviors while playing. I don't have kids and I'm a little too old to have gotten...

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Why is there a 10% early withdrawal penalty to cash out a 401k?

Before becoming an employment attorney I worked for one of the largest (maybe the largest) provider of 401k services. We provided various investment, customer service and recordkeeping services for 401k plans. Most people who call for information about their 401k plans will end up talking to my former employer or one of their competitors. Most 401k plan administration responsibilities outsourced to financial institutions that provide the infrastructure and staffing with expertise in plan issues. A large number of calls about 401k plans are for withdrawals from the 401k plan. Many people were dismayed to find out that a 10% early withdrawal penalty may...

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Could Laremy Tunsil’s draft disaster happen to you at work in Texas?

Three months ago the nation stopped what it was doing for three weeks while the NFL draft chugged along. Laremy Tunsil from Ole Miss felt confident draft rumors were true that he was a lock for the first round. Rumor has it that the Ravens were primed to pick him up early in the round. Minutes before the beginning of the draft a bomb dropped on Tunsil. His Twitter and Instagram accounts were hacked and new content appeared. His Twitter account posted a picture allegedly of Tunsil wearing a gas mask attached to a bong. Tunsil's Instagram posted a picture of...

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Can you get a beer on intermittent FMLA? Court says yes.

Intermittent FMLA has always been and probably always will be a contentious issue between employer and employee. Employers often have negative attitudes about intermittent FMLA leave centered largely around self-serving beliefs that employees abuse the legally protected leave rights and do not really need the time off from work. Certainly some employees do abuse FMLA but employers tend to start with the belief that the FMLA leave is dishonest and that unfortunately often results in FMLA violations by denying employees protected FMLA leave or worse, terminated them for taking the leave. FMLA leave protections cut in favor of the employee, especially...

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What is a volunteer under Texas employment law?

Most people understand volunteering means giving away free labor, often to a charity or other non-profit organization. However, sometimes Dallas and Fort Worth for-profit businesses seek "volunteers" as a way of receiving unpaid labor or an employer requires its employees to volunteer time for a charitable or civic cause. What about these situations? The Department of Labor has developed regulations around the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) as they relate to volunteer work and address these issues. Generally Dallas-Fort Worth for-profit businesses cannot take on volunteers to obtain unpaid labor or require employees to volunteer for non-profit causes...

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