January 2018 Archives

Labor Department adopts test for internship legality

Many people in Texas have worked as interns, whether over summer vacation from school, after graduation or as way to get offered a full-time job. However, there have been significant questions about proper differentiation between interns and employees, especially when interns receive no pay or just a stipend that falls below minimum wage. There has been a change in the Department of Labor's test to assess the correct classification of interns. It now aligns with the majority of U.S. appellate courts.

Poll finds women may be treated differently at work

Women who work in STEM jobs are more likely to experience inequality in their workplaces in Texas and around the country. This was one of the key findings from a Pew Research poll conducted in 2017. According to the poll, 50 percent of women respondents who worked in STEM jobs said that they experienced discrimination. Discrimination was defined as actions such as being paid less for similar work or being passed over for important jobs.

DOL adds flexibility to rules governing unpaid internships

The Department of Labor has updated its guidance for unpaid internships. The new approach grants employers at for-profit companies in Texas more flexibility. Previous rules established by the department in 2010 insisted that an employer had to meet all six requirements to avoid paying minimum wage or overtime. The new test includes seven points of consideration meant to determine whether the arrangement benefits the intern's education or actually benefits the employer.

The links between sexual harassment and lower pay

Everyone in Texas faces challenges at work from time to time, but women predominantly experience sexual harassment that can reduce how much they earn. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, power disparities in the workplace could encourage harassment. Unequal pay creates a power disparity, and sexual harassment sometimes causes victims to leave potentially lucrative careers or suffer the consequences of reduced job performance.

Migrant farm workers are often subjected to employer abuse

When you came to America, you did so with the hope of creating a better life for you and your family. Working on a farm is one of the most common ways for migrants to make a living and get a good start in our country. You and other farmworkers in Texas need to understand that, just like natural-born citizens, you have the right to fair and humane treatment by your employers. Unfortunately, the opposite is true for far too many migrant workers across the country.

FLSA says workers should be compensated for short breaks

A recent decision by the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals may eventually have an impact on Texas employees. The court held that employees are entitled to be paid for breaks that are 20 minutes in duration or less. The case involved a company called Progressive Business Publications that had eliminated paid 15-minute breaks for employees in favor of a flex-time program. Employees were allowed to leave their workstations for any reason at any point during the day.

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Warren & Siurek, L.L.P.
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Houston, TX 77098

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