Month: August 2013

More Big Brother racism: from the perpetrator’s mouth

At the beginning of August I wrote about the ejection of a black member of the Big Brother house this season. A season full of offensive racism perpetrated by some of this season’s white contestants. Finally, the season’s biggest racist left and confronted about her racist comments in a post-ejection interview with CBS. In the interview, Aaryn …

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Tipped employees not making minimum wage in Dallas or Fort Worth

Major news outlets today are covering today’s strikes by fast food workers demanding higher pay. Although those workers demand an increase in the minimum wage, there are other food service workers subject to minimum wage laws that often do not receive minimum wage, even at today’s legal minimum wage rate: tipped employees. Tipped employees receive pay in …

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Twerking while working? Probably a bad idea in Texas.

If you have been anywhere near a TV, radio, computer, or even two cans tied to a string, you have heard about or seen footage of Miley Cyrus’s performance during the VMA this year. Let’s dispense with the details about her performance. Miley Cyrus does not know how to twerk. If Miley Cyrus is your …

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Employment criminal background checks, expunged records and deferred adjudication in Texas

Criminal background checks for employment raise several legal issues. For people filling out job applications, the only issue that matters is whether they will get the job. Employers are increasing reliance on criminal background checks and other background checks, such as education verification and credit reports. Criminal background checks, when you have a criminal history, …

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Getting a divorce in Tarrant County and your spouse’s threats

A common concern from divorce clients and people looking for information about divorce comes in the form of, “my husband is threatening to…” or “my wife is threatening to…” with something about taking away the kids or all the property. 99.9% of the time those threats have zero basis in the law and are never going …

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What employment records should I keep in Texas?

The number one mistake that almost all employees make is not keeping their employment records. If you find yourself contemplating suing your employer over wages or discrimination, having records of your employment can be useful. Even though some records may be available from your employer, some information may never reach your employment file. For example, …

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When can you be a volunteer in the Dallas-Fort Worth area?

The rules around volunteer work under federal and Texas law are not very complicated but commonly misunderstood. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act you cannot volunteer for a for-profit employer performing work for the employer. (Aside from a few professions, such as lawyers and doctors, and exempt employees performing exempt work.) No matter how badly …

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What happens to my beneficiary designations after a divorce in Texas?

During a divorce one of the biggest issues in dividing the marital property is dividing the financial assets. Most married people will designate their spouse as the beneficiary on the account or policy. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) governs most employee benefits. It requires married employees to designate their spouse as the primary …

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Is there a benefit to having a divorce attorney of the opposite sex or same sex?

There are a lot of misconceptions about how divorce works and how divorce attorneys work. Most of these misconceptions are thanks to television shows and movies that depict divorces wrongly in almost every way imaginable. One of the biggest misconceptions people have about divorce and Fort Worth divorce attorneys is that there is some super secret …

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What to do if I am an employer and somebody is being harassed or discriminated against at work in Texas?

As a Dallas employment lawyer, I often write about what Texas employees should do to protect their rights but employers also play a role in ferreting out workplace harassment and discrimination. You might own a business or work in human resources and confronted with a situation where an employee alleges harassment or discrimination in the workplace. Obviously, …

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My employer is offering severance in Texas. Should I sign the severance agreement?

Ultimately you will have to sign the severance agreement if you want the money or whatever benefit they offer; but that does not mean you should sign it without carefully considering the terms. There are basically three types of severance agreements with employers in Texas. I call them the “let’s just be friends” severance; the “business …

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What is the statute of limitations in Texas and what happens if the statute of limitations runs out?

There is no actual “statute of limitations” passed by the Texas legislature that gives the limitations period for all suits. The phrase refers to the limited period of time to bring a suit to court, whether it is a divorce, personal injury, employment, or even criminal suit. Different types of suits have different limitations periods …

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Can my employer stop contributing to my 401k?

Generally yes. Employers are not required to offer retirement benefits; nor are they required to make matching contributions, profit sharing, or any other contribution. (With the exception of certain safe harbor plan designs that require safe harbor contributions.) If your employer has a 401k, ESOP, or other defined contribution plan and makes contributions for you, …

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Should I delete my facebook account or other social media pages in a divorce?

No. The Texas and federal rules of evidence prohibit parties from destroying evidence, even if it is electronic. You can make your profiles and pages private, if you have not already; but you should not delete the accounts or any postings you think might be harmful. Not only can you make your case worse by …

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I received citation/service/divorce papers– what do I do?

If you received paperwork on a divorce you need to follow the right steps to protect your interests in Texas. Most likely you received these papers in one of two ways. You may receive citation from a constable, other process server, or certified mail. Citation is notice of a divorce proceeding and the divorce decree. …

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What is the importance of the attorney-client privilege?

The attorney-client privilege protects communications between lawyers and clients when those communications are part of the lawyer providing legal services. The privilege allows the client to speak honestly with the attorney so the attorney can provide the best legal services. Without the privilege, clients may be unwilling to share critical information with their attorneys. Although the importance is obvious …

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Naughty or Nice: Don’t Lose Your Job at the Holiday Party

Russell Cawyer, an attorney in Fort Worth, maintains an excellent employment law blog focusing on employer issues. Each winter he reposts a link to his list of key topics for employers to avoid creating bad situations at holiday parties. In light of his highly informative wish list for employers I wanted to write a complementary …

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How to file a discrimination complaint with the TWC: Dallas and Fort Worth employment attorney

A common question is how to file a sex discrimination or other employment discrimination complaint with the TWC or EEOC. The process is fairly similar for both the TWC and EEOC when filing a charge of discrimination. The charge process is free and allows discrimination complaints with the TWC and EEOC without a lawyer; but what you …

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What is a guardian ad litem under the Texas Family Code? Fort Worth divorce lawyer explains

A guardian ad litem is a “guardian at law” that represents an individual’s interest in litigation. The most common cases in Texas with a guardian ad litem is probate and family court to represent a minor. A guardian ad litem, at least in Texas, is almost never an attorney. The guardian ad litem should have an educational background …

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