Texas companies should be aware that some employees might be eligible for leave under the Family Medical and Leave Act to care for someone who is not legally or biologically their child or parent if the relationship is one of "in loco parentis". This means that the two people have a parent and child type of relationship. In order to establish this, it is sufficient for the employee to state that the relationship exists although the employer may ask for evidence.
Texas employers may want to be careful about how much influence they allow supervisors to exert over their decisions. Even if a supervisor does not have any power over employment decisions, the supervisor could convince the employer to fire workers that they do not like. If a supervisor exerts influence with discriminatory animus, the employer could be sued for employment discrimination.
Employers in Texas and around the country have good reasons to be concerned about allegations of discrimination or harassment in the workplace. In addition to facing possible financial penalties, businesses thought to be discriminatory may have to contend with a public backlash and low worker morale. To prevent this from happening, business owners should become familiar with federal and state employment laws and have proactive policies put into place to ensure that they are complied with.
Even human resources managers at companies in Texas and throughout the United States are not immune from facing discrimination in the workplace. An employee at RockTenn, a paper and packaging manufacturer, was awarded $187,500 in a settlement after he was fired while on short-term disability leave.
A Texas man has filed a lawsuit against his former employer, Tyson Foods Inc., alleging that he was repeatedly assaulted by a supervisor and then wrongfully terminated. The complaint was filed on March 29 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas
A Texas employee who requests leave under FMLA provisions might be required by the employer to provide documentation of the need, but the law does not require the provision of medical certification unless there is a specific request. An employer is also responsible for advising an employee of the expected consequences in the event of a failure to comply with such a request.
Texas employers may struggle with knowing when it is appropriate to grant Family and Medical Leave Act leave to an employee. Often, guidance can only come from looking at how courts ruled in various cases. One example from a hospital in Ohio is instructive. A nurse who was employed there suffered from frequent migraines. Her colleagues complained that she sometimes vanished from work due to them, and she was also written up for missing work.
Some Texas employees may have faced sexual harassment and even attempted rape at work and not reported it due to not understanding their rights or fear of losing their job. One woman, general counsel at an advocacy group, says that as a part-time restaurant manager, she herself did not report an attempted assault for these reasons. Another woman who was working as a waitress while she was a student tells a similar story.
For businesses, managing liabilities surrounding the health and safety of employees is a critical ongoing task. Reducing liability in this area requires not only ensuring that employees are properly trained and that the work environment is free of unnecessary hazards, but also ensuring that employees understand their options for recovering from a workplace injury.
As an employee or job candidate, you should never be discriminated against. While there are laws in place to protect you, it is important to realize one thing to be true: Some companies don't care about these laws, as they are going to do what they want and hope nothing bad happens.