Texas News & Analysis

  • Do you have a ghost of a chance against ghosting?

    If you're like us (and Seth Meyers), you might have a hard time keeping up with all the latest slang terms having to do with new technologies and trends in social interactions and other aspects of modern life. One such term is "ghosting," which is when a person just stops responding to text messages, usually from someone they recently started dating. The term has slowly spread to other situations in which one person suddenly disappears from another person's life, including—you guessed it—when an employee or job applicant is a no-show with no communication or explanation to the employer.

  • Workplace Trends

    Survey finds lack of understanding of when workers will retire. U.S. employers are rethinking their approach to managing the retirement patterns of their workforces, according to a study from Willis Towers Watson. The 2018 Longer Working Careers Survey found that 83% of employers have a significant number of employees at or nearing retirement, but just 53% expressed having a good understanding of when their employees will retire. Additionally, while 81% say managing the timing of their employees' retirements is an important business issue, just 25% do that effectively. The survey found that 80% of respondents view older employees as crucial to their success.

  • Agency Action

    EEOC announces increases in outreach, enforcement for 2018. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) noted increases in its 2018 outreach and enforcement actions as it released its annual Performance and Accountability Report in November 2018. Highlights in the report include the launch of a nationwide online inquiry and appointment system as part of the EEOC's Public Portal, which resulted in a 30 percent increase in inquiries and over 40,000 intake interviews. The report also noted that the EEOC's outreach programs reached 398,650 individuals, providing them with information about employment discrimination and their rights and responsibilities in the workplace.

  • Wellness programs are about more than health insurance costs

    When attorneys talk or write about wellness programs, it's almost always from a highly legal perspective. We could talk all day about the convoluted and overlapping requirements of the various laws that apply to such programs. But this month, we want to take a different approach and look at wellness programs from more of a business perspective.

  • Workplace Trends

    Research shows slow growth for middle-wage jobs. A study from CareerBuilder shows that highand low-wage job growth is overshadowing the increase in middle-wage jobs. According to the study, the United States is expected to add 8,310,003 jobs from 2018 to 2023, with just one-fourth of them in the middle-wage category. Factored into the total job growth is an expected loss of 369,879 jobs over the same period, with middle-wage occupations experiencing the majority of the decline. The research shows that a total of 121 occupations will experience a decline in jobs between 2018 and 2023, and 75 of them are middle-wage jobs. Highand low-wage occupations are expected to have the highest net job growth from 2018 to 2023 at 5.71% and 5.69%, respectively. Middle-wage employment will grow at 3.83%. STEM-related occupations will continue to dominate fast-growing occupations, according to the research.

  • How to claim paid family and medical leave tax credit

    The tax reform law passed late last year contained a little-noticed tax credit for employers that provide employees paid "family and medical" leave and meet certain other requirements. While the IRS hasn't finalized regulations pinning down the specifics of the new credit, it recently issued some helpful guidance. Let's take a look.

  • Don't forget to properly classify independent contractors

    You likely recall a time not so long ago when the improper classification of employees as independent contractors was the hot topic for the IRS and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). In 2011, the agencies entered into a "Memorandum of Understanding" in which they agreed to share information about potential misclassifications in an effort to crack down on the common practice. The DOL also entered into similar agreements with roughly 30 state departments of labor.

  • Union Activity

    AFL-CIO leader hails defeat of right-to-work law. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka has spoken out to praise the August referendum in Missouri that struck down the states right-to-work law. Missouri is the latest sign of a true groundswell, and working people are just getting started, Trumka said after the vote. Calling the right-to-work law poisonous anti-worker legislation, he said the laws defeat represents a victory for workers across the country. The message sent by every single person who worked to defeat Prop. A is clear: When we see an opportunity to use our political voice to give workers a more level playing field, we will seize it with overwhelming passion and determination. A day after the election, the AFL-CIO announced an advertising campaign aimed at drawing attention to the wave of collective action happening across the country and showing that anyone can join the momentum working people are generating.

  • Agency Action

    NLRB launches ADR pilot program. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced in July that it is launching a new pilot program to enhance the use of its alternative dispute resolution (ADR) program. The pilot program is intended to increase participation opportunities for parties in the ADR program and help facilitate mutually satisfactory settlements. Under the new program, the NLRB's Office of the Executive Secretary will proactively engage parties with cases pending before the Board to determine whether their cases are appropriate for inclusion in the ADR program. Parties also may contact the Office of the Executive Secretary and request that their case be placed in the ADR program. There are no fees or expenses for using the program.

  • Protecting data from departing employees (or why I love auditing and access restrictions)

    Countless formal and informal studies show that most employees retain at least some company data when they leave a job. The reasons vary from the benign (such as when an employee inadvertently keeps a work flash drive) to the more malicious (such as in the case of an employee's deliberate theft of company trade secrets for use at a new job). Motivation matters only so much, though, because even the innocent retention of data can have far-reaching consequences.