To protect the employees of the state of Texas from possible exploitation at the hands of their employers, a set of laws have been put in place that preserve employee rights.From their first day at work to even after their last day at work, employment laws are there to look out for the employees’ interests.
Through this post we can get a glimpse of the scope of these laws.
Right from the commencement of the hiring process these laws govern how the hiring is conducted. As per the employment laws, no employer can show bias against a potential employee because of race, religion, gender, age or disability etc.
The determining element in the selection of a potential candidate for employment must be the qualifications of that candidate and not a consideration of these characteristics.
Any employer who bases hiring decisions on any of such discriminatory, improper factors risks being subjected to liability for employment discrimination.
Overtime and Minimum Wage
There is a Federal $7.25 minimum wage per hour.In addition to this, employment law states that if an employee works more than 40 hours a week, then the employer must pay the employee overtime pay for hours worked in excess of 40 per week.
And the overtime hourly rate must be one half times more than their usual rate. These statutes on minimum wage and overtime pay hold for all nonexempt employees.
Among those covered under these provisions are employees of businesses which have more than half a million dollars of gross annual sales as well as employees of smaller businesses conducting interstate commerce.
There are exceptions to the overtime and minimum wage protection. Based on a criteria which includes the responsibilities and weekly earnings of the employee, certain professions and positions have been excluded from these protections. These include employees that handle administrative work and executive staff and professionals in certain fields.
Some employees in the service sector who receive tips on a regular basis as part of their compensation are excluded from the minimum wage restrictions. For these employees the law recognizes a combined wage (tips plus regular wage) as sufficient to fulfill the minimum wage benchmark.
Safety at the Workplace
A major concern for employees is safety at the workplace. Thus the employment laws make it necessary for the employer to make sure that the safety of the employee is taken care of while at the workplace.
Apart from independent contractors all manners of workplaces and their employees are provided legal security through the stipulations of these laws.
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Texas Department of Insurance Division of Workers’ Compensation and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are two such agencies that safeguard the interests of the employees at the workplace and keep a watchful eye on employee safety standards at the workplace.
If an employer takes any form of retaliatory action against an employee who has submitted a grievance with this agency, then that employer may suffer legal penalties.
If an employee of a business suffers an injury while working for the employer then the employer is liable to pay that employee a proportionate amount as compensation. This compensation should be drawn from an insurance program that the employer must have in place as a matter of legal policy.
The medical fees for the employee’s treatment will be included in this compensation as well as part of the employee’s regular pay for the period during which the employee cannot work and earn.
An employer may choose whether or not to take part in such a program. However, if the employer chooses to provide such compensation, then their employees can only get compensation and benefits for injuries that occur at work.
Should an employer fail to provide the coverage, injured workers can pursue any legal remedies that are available against the employer, such as suing for damages.
Leaves from Work
The Family and Medical Leave Act states that all employers must provide eligible employees with unpaid leave of up to twelve weeks.
FMLA applies to all private businesses with 50 or more workers as well as all government employees. In addition, Texas workers are entitled to not more than two hours of paid time off for voting. Employers who fail to provide workers with this right may be subject to fines.
Moreover, all employers must not fail to provide unpaid time off to an employee who has been called for jury duty.
Benefits After being Discharged
If an employee has been let go from his/her job for any other reason than misconduct, then the employer is liable to pay that employee certain severance compensation in accordance with the rank and period of service of the employee.
Another provision of the state employment laws provides a former employee the choice to keep on having the health benefit coverage they had during employment, but the catch is that post employment, they must bear the cost of the coverage themselves.