Dallas Employment Lawyer Answers Frequently Asked Texas Employment Law Questions Using 30+ Years Of Legal Experience
With decades of employment law experience, our Dallas employment lawyer Dan A. Atkerson answers frequently asked questions he receives regarding Texas employee rights, discrimination and harassment in the workplace.
Read this guide or call our Dallas employment lawyer for answers to your own employment law questions at (214) 383-3606 to schedule a free attorney consultation. Our law firm has successfully represented employees throughout Plano, Frisco, Richardson and Allen in employment law claims. We are ready to help you.
Texas Employment Law Questions
After practicing labor and employment law in the Dallas/Forth Worth area for many years, our Dallas employment lawyer compiled this list of frequently asked and commonly misunderstood Texas employment law questions by clients:
- What is Texas employment law?
- What rights do I have as an employee in Texas?
- How can I assert my employment rights?
- What does Texas “at-will” employment mean?
- How do I know if I was wrongfully terminated from my job?
- What is minimum wage in Dallas TX?
- What is the overtime law in Texas?
- What are Texas overtime laws for salaried employees?
- Am I entitled to meal and rest breaks at work?
- What laws prevent workplace discrimination in Texas?
- What Texas employment laws prohibit workplace sexual harassment?
- What are common types of sexual harassment in the workplace?
- What does sexual harassment at work look like?
- What Texas workplace safety laws must employers follow?
What is Texas employment law?
Employment law concerns the legal relationship between Texas employers and employees. Texas employment law regulates employment procedures and relationships including the hiring process, job duties, wages, promotions, benefits, treatments, work environments, employment reviews and termination. It also includes the right to litigation by a Dallas employment lawyer on the basis of unfair labor practices and workplace discrimination.
If you are experiencing discrimination in the workplace, a wrongful termination, unpaid wages or unpaid overtime, our Dallas employment attorney can help you file a discrimination lawsuit or remedy other employee rights issues. Speak with Dallas employment lawyer Dan A. Atkerson for a free consultation on Texas employment law and how to best defend your workplace rights.
What rights do I have as an employee in Texas?
All Texas employees are entitled to basic employee rights including the right to privacy, fair compensation and freedom from discrimination in the workplace. Other employee rights include the right be free from sexual harassment in the workplace, right to fair wages and the right to a safe workplace free of workplace hazards.
Texas employees also have the right to be protected from workplace retaliation for filing a claim against an employer who is involved in illegal conduct, which is in some cases referred to as “whistleblower” rights. Texas employees also carry employee privacy rights which protect personal possessions. Rarely do employee privacy rights guard any activity carried out on a work computer including e –mail, documents or internet search history.
Speak with Dallas employment lawyer Dan A. Atkerson for questions regarding exercising your employee rights in Texas.
How can I assert my employment rights?
If you are facing employee rights issues such as workplace discrimination, sexual harassment, wage disputes, wrongful termination or workplace retaliation, speak with Dallas employment lawyer Dan A. Atkerson. With 32 years of experience defending Texas workers rights, our employment attorney fights for your right to claim compensation and restore fair treatment.
Call (214) 383-3606 to take advantage of scheduling a free consultation today. We provide representation to workers living or working in the cities surrounding Dallas, including Coppell, McKinney, Lewisville, Southlake and Grapevine employees.
What does Texas “at-will” employment mean?
In Texas, an employee who is employed “at will” does not have an enforceable employment contract. This means the employee or employer may end the working relationship at any time, for any reason. This does not mean, however, that an employer can terminate an employee based upon attributes of race, age, gender, nation of origin, disability or sex. Doing so would be considered an act of workplace discrimination or a wrongful termination.
Most Texas employees are considered at-will employees, which makes it important to know and exercise your Texas employee rights. Meet with our Dallas employment attorney if you have questions regarding Texas employment law, workplace discrimination or wrongful termination.
How do I know if I was wrongfully terminated from my job?
If an employee has been fired without good reason or in violation of federal or state law, it could be considered a wrongful termination. A Dallas wrongful termination attorney has the ability to bring a successful wrongful termination claim, and employers could be made to pay back wages, fines and possible punitive damages.
Speak with Dallas employment lawyer Dan A. Atkerson, who can review your case, and provide you with legal advice on how to best move forward with a wrongful termination claim.
What is minimum wage in Dallas TX?
In 2015, Texas minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. As of July 24, 2009, the federal minimum wage is also $7.25 per hour. Federal minimum wage provisions are contained in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and are administered and enforced by the Employment Standards Administration’s Wage and Hour Division of the US Department of Labor (DOL). In cases where an employee is subject to both the state and federal minimum wage laws, the employee is entitled to the higher of the two minimum wages.
If you have questions regarding minimum wage, unpaid wages or unpaid overtime you can count on our Dallas employment attorney for guidance and legal advice.
What is the overtime law in Texas?
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires overtime pay at a rate of not less than one and one-half times an employee’s regular rate of pay after 40 hours of work in a workweek for covered, nonexempt employees. Some exceptions to the 40 hours per week standard apply under special circumstances to police officers and fire fighters employed by public agencies and to employees of hospitals and nursing homes. Where an employee is subject to both the state and federal overtime laws, the employee is entitled to overtime according to the standard that will provide the higher rate of pay.
Effective August 23, 2004, U.S. Department of Labor regulations state that all employees who earn less than $455 per week, or $23,660 per year, are automatically entitled to receive overtime pay.
What are Texas overtime laws for salaried employees?
Employees who earn more than $455 per week, or $23,660 per year, are exempt from overtime requirements if they are compensated on a salary, not on an hourly, basis, as well as if their job falls into one of the following three categories:
- Executive – His or her primary duties are directly related to management and involves the exercise of discretion and independent judgment
- Learned professional – If the employee has advanced knowledge in a field of science or learning
- Creative professional – Primary duties involve invention, imagination, originality, or talent in a field of creative or artistic endeavor
If you have been denied overtime and believe you are not exempt from receiving overtime pay, speak with Dallas employment lawyer Dan A. Atkerson who has more than 32 years of experience settling Texas wage disputes to learn your ability to file an unpaid overtime claim.
Am I entitled to meal and rest breaks at work?
Texas employment law does not require Texas employers to provide meal or rest breaks to their employees. If a lunch break is provided, a Texas employer is not required to pay their employee for the break if it is over 30 minutes long, and not preoccupied with work related tasks. If a Texas employer decides to offer its employees shorter breaks throughout the day, they must abide by federal employment law, which requires an employer to pay employees for breaks under 20 minutes in length.
What laws prevent workplace discrimination in Texas?
Texas employees are protected from racial discrimination, gender discrimination, national origin discrimination, age discrimination, religious discrimination and disability discrimination under federal employment laws and Texas employment laws.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits an employer larger than fifteen employees from refusing to hire, discipline, fire, deny training, fail to promote, pay less, demote or harass an employee on the basis of age, disability, gender, race, religion or pregnancy.
The Federal Equal Pay Act and Fair Labor Standards Act prohibits gender discrimination in the workplace by requiring an employer to provide equal pay to men and women who perform similar jobs and hold equal qualifications.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) offers age discrimination protection to employees or applicants over the age of forty, by any employer with twenty or more employees.
The Immigration Reform and Control Act bars any employer with more than three employees from discriminating against a U.S. citizen, or an “intended citizen”(one who may work legally but is not yet a citizen) on the basis of his or her national origin. Our Dallas discrimination lawyer can provide legal guidance throughout a national origin discrimination case.
What Texas employment laws prohibit workplace sexual harassment?
In 1980, the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) issued regulations defining sexual harassment, and stated it was a form of sexual discrimination prohibited by the Civil Rights Act. Additionally, the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act enforces stricter statues prohibiting sexual harassment in the workplace in the State of Texas.
Dallas sexual harassment attorney Dan A. Atkerson can help you file a Texas sexual harassment claim should you be in the unfortunate situation of experiencing sexual harassment or sex discrimination in the workplace.
What are common types of sexual harassment in the workplace?
There are two types of sexual harassment that commonly occur in the workplace:
- Quid pro quo sexual harassment involves favors often requested by a superior in exchange for employment benefits, such as a promotion.
- A hostile work environment involves sexual harassment that occurs through the presence of demeaning or sexual jokes, threats, treatment or images. For a Texas workplace to be considered a hostile work environment, the sexual harassment must be pervasive, distracting and threatening to the well-being of the employee’s job.
What does sexual harassment at work look like?
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that affect an employee’s conditions of employment or unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance. Sexual harassment often creates an intimidating, hostile work environment. Sexual harassment in the workplace should not be tolerated. Every Texas employee is deserving of a comfortable and safe workplace.
If you have been the recipient of sexual harassment or are working in a hostile workplace in Texas, our Dallas employment lawyer may be able to file a sexual harassment lawsuit against a threatening, inappropriate employer, coworker or other party on your behalf.
What Texas workplace safety laws must employers follow?
The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 sets federal workplace safety standards. Under the act, an employer is required to:
- Provide a safe work environment that is free of workplace hazards
- Inform the employees of any potential dangers
- Establish a written, comprehensive hazard communication program
- Inform employees of the existence, location and availability of their medical and exposure records when employees first begin employment
Every employee is entitled to work in a risk-free, safe workplace. If you feel you are working in an unsafe or hazardous work environment, Dallas employment attorney Dan A. Atkerson can answer your questions regarding workplace safety and workplace safety litigation.