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Total Articles: 10

New Texas Laws Taking Effect September 1, 2017

Though employment issues were not the focus of the 85th Regular and Special Legislative Sessions of the Texas Legislature, Texas employers should be aware of a handful of new Texas laws which take effect September 1, 2017.

Don’t Mess with Texas: a Quick Draw on Lone Star State Employment Law

As any Texan will tell you, “Everything is bigger in Texas!” And with an economy that would rank 10th largest in the world if Texas were a country, you are likely to interact at some point with businesses in the Lone Star State. You may even find yourself hiring or managing employees there. If so, below are some interesting and very Texan takes on employment law that may be helpful when you do.

Texas Passes Ban on Texting While Driving

On June 6, 2017, Texas became the 47th state to enact a state-wide ban on texting while driving. The new law (HR 62) prohibits drivers from reading, writing or sending electronic messages unless the vehicle is stopped. It does not, however, prohibit dialing a number to call someone, setting a GPS device, listening to music programs or even surfing on the Internet.

Texas Amends its Uniform Trade Secrets Act

Last month, Texas’s legislature amended the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act (TUTSA). These amendments expand and clarify TUTSA’s definitions, add a clarification to enjoining trade secrets misappropriation, and codify a balancing test to determine whether to exclude people from a courtroom when trade secrets are discussed. The amended TUTSA:

Texas Two-Step: Gig Businesses In The Lone Star State Get Two Pieces Of Good News

Gig economy companies in Texas were on the receiving end of two pieces of good news in the last several weeks. Most recently, the state legislature passed and the governor signed into law a bill that will all but assure ride-sharing companies that their workers will be classified as independent contractors and not subject to costly misclassification cases. As my Dallas partner Art Lambert wrote in a legal alert from earlier this week, H.B. 100 ensures that any driver working for a transportation network company (TNC), defined as any entity using a digital network to connect a rider to a driver to provide prearranged rides, is properly classified as an independent contractor as long as long as four simple requirements are met:

Enjoy The Ride! Texas Ride-Sharing Businesses Can Now Escape Misclassification Battles

Texas Governor Greg Abbott just signed into law a measure that will regulate ride-sharing companies (H.B. 100) by establishing a consistent statewide framework to govern such businesses. The good news for ride-sharing businesses: by following some very simple steps, you can avoid costly misclassification lawsuits by ensuring your workers are classified as independent contractors. The law was effective as of the date of signing – May 29 – and overruled all local ordinances in Texas that had previously regulated ride-sharing businesses.

Chapter 21 of the Texas Labor Code Does Not Incorporate ADA’s Prohibition on Release of Confidential Health Information

Texas courts interpreting Chapter 21 of the Texas Labor Code generally attempt to interpret it consistently with federal anti-discrimination laws and frequently look to federal court decisions for guidance. However, differences do exist between Texas and federal anti-discrimination laws. One recent case explored the differences between Chapter 21 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) related to claims for release of confidential health information. El Paso County, Texas v. Vasquez, No. 05-15-00086-CV (May 5, 2016).

Texas Pre-Suit Discovery – Obligations Under Unusual Procedure Clarified

Although most employers are very familiar with the usual discovery process of litigation, they may not be as familiar with the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure’s Rule 202, which concerns pre-suit depositions.

Texas' Pending LGBT-Related Legislation: What it Means for Employers

Executive Summary: Issues pertaining to LGBT rights have been a focal point of public debate and discourse for several years, but since the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, these issues increasingly have also been the focus of legislative action. While many states have implemented additional protections for LGBT people, the Texas legislature has gone in the opposite direction, introducing a “bathroom bill” aimed at transgender people, as well as numerous other “religious freedom” bills that some view as potentially permitting discrimination against those who are LGBT. Below is an overview of the state of LGBT rights and legislation in Texas.

Will Austin Come Crawling Back To Uber And Lyft?

The sharing economy has become so entrenched in our vocabulary and culture, it’s hard to remember when exactly the romance began. For Uber, the story started on a “snowy Paris evening in 2008” when two tech dudes had trouble convincing a chauffeur de taxi to rescue them from the elements. And thusly the biggest of the ride-sharing giants was born in 2009. Way back when, it wasn’t 50 Shades of late-model Nissan Sentra—it was all black Lincoln Town Cars, all day long.