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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 you might want to do the work as a “volunteer” you cannot be a volunteer. The employer must pay you minimum wage and overtime pay (if you work the requisite hours). This is true whether it is your regular employer or some other business. Non-profit volunteers Non-profit...

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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 beneficiary unless the spouse provides a waiver. The Texas Family Code voids ex-spouses as beneficiaries on financial assets when the final order dissolving the marriage issues. Because those two laws conflict, you can inadvertently end up leaving assets to your ex-spouse. ERISA and beneficiary designations If you...

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Is getting paid by salary better than being paid hourly in Texas?

Not necessarily. Under federal and Texas law, all employees must receive at least minimum wage for the first forty hours of work and overtime for work time beyond at a rate of one and a half the rate paid for the first forty hours unless an exception applies under the law. Texas and federal wage laws contain an overtime exemption to receive a straight annual rate regardless of hours worked. Under this exemption, employees receive an annual salary rather than an hourly wage. Only certain types of employees are exempt under this particular exemption: professional, administrative and executive employees. Your actual job may or may...

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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 defense” severance; and the “shush and go away” severance. Although each has a different purpose, any severance agreement might include elements of others or might have multiple purposes. Most people will accept severance agreements because they want the money more than whatever the company wants in return;...

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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 under the law. The period of time to bring a suit for a particular event is the limitations period. Once limitations runs out you generally cannot bring suit for that event. Statute of limitations periods are extremely important to Texas employment and divorce lawyers. The most...

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Dallas employment attorney: 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, in most cases they can stop contributing at their discretion. Exceptions when an employer cannot stop contributions to your 401k There are some exceptions. Employers cannot stop contributing to some employees and not others over unrelated issues. For example, an employer could not stop contributing to your...

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Fort Worth divorce lawyers: I received citation/service/divorce papers; what do I need to 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. Citation will tell you when you must submit an answer to avoid a default judgment and losing your right to have a say in the divorce. Alternatively, you may have received the paperwork by mail or in person. If you received it from somebody else, you...

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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 allege in the charge has a big impact on a lawsuit. So it is beneficial to hire a lawyer up front to make sure the right claims are in the charge. If you believe you have an employment discrimination claim then you should contact employment lawyers...

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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 in child welfare. In family law they often appear in divorces and child custody suits to represent the best interests of the child. The reason why a third party represents the child is because often the parents or other family members do not have an objective...

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Should I invest in company stock in my 401k? Dallas 401k lawyer

In an article I authored back in 2010 published in the National Law Review I discussed the risks involved for both companies and employees in allowing employees to invest in company stock within their 401k plans. The company stock becomes available through an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) within the 401k known as a KSOP. Companies can obtain tax benefits through the ESOP as well as buoy its stock. Although ESOPs are numerically most often in small, private companies, it is the larger companies that get press when the ESOP becomes a problem. When it comes to finances, everybody’s investment goals, strategies and...

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