On May 28, 2014, the Houston City Council passed the city’s first ordinance to ban discrimination in private workplaces, and to expand the types of prohibited discrimination for employers subject to this ordinance, as noted below. Houston is one of the last major cities in the United States to adopt such an ordinance, and joins Texas cities Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, and San Antonio, which have already adopted their own similar ordinances. In addition to banning discrimination in the workplace, the Houston ordinance applies to housing, public city employment, and city contracting. The ordinance goes into effect on June 27, 2014.
Articles about Texas Labor And Employment Law.
Texas has joined 47 other states and the District of Columbia in adopting the Uniform Trade Secrets Act. The new law, Texas Senate Bill 953, which will go into effect on September 1, 2014, provides a number of protections for trade secrets in Texas. New Jersey most recently enacted a law to protect trade secrets in 2012. (See New Jersey Adopts Trade Secret Law.) Now, only Massachusetts and New York have yet to pass some form of the Uniform Trade Secret Act, with Massachusetts providing statutory protection in a different form and New York recognizing common law protection of trade secrets.
Since being approved in 1979, the Uniform Trade Secrets Act has been adopted, in some form or fashion, by 47 states. At least one Texas lawmaker hopes to make Texas the 48th to do so. With S.B. 953, a Dallas lawmaker seeks to codify existing Texas common law relating to misappropriation of trade secrets and expand available remedies to a “claimant” seeking to stop and remedy a misappropriation. If enacted, the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act would go into effect on September 1, 2013.
Matching bills introduced in the Texas House and Senate would amend the Texas right-to-work law to require that labor unions be elected in a secret ballot election by a majority of employees in the unit the union seeks to represent. The current right-to-work law requires a “majority vote of the members present and participating.”
A recent decision from the Fifth District Court of Appeals in Dallas held that federal immigration laws do not preclude illegal workers from recovering damages, including lost wages, for Texas tort claims.
Beginning in 2011, Texas law prohibits most public and private employers from preventing employees who otherwise lawfully possess a firearm or ammunition from transporting or storing those items in a locked, privately owned motor vehicle in employer-provided parking areas. Texas employers may not impose handgun bans by posting a notice under the Texas Penal Code or by including such a ban in a mandated, federally approved facility security plan, the Attorney General of Texas has said in an opinion released November 5, 2012. In addition, the Attorney General noted that, although the Texas Labor Code (Section 52.061) does not provide a specific remedy to employees for any such violation by an employer, employees might be able to pursue claims for violations against employers under the Uniform Declaratory Judgments Act.
The 82nd session of the Texas legislature resulted in several new laws affecting employers. We summarize the more noteworthy legislation in this article. All laws are effective September 1, 2011, unless otherwise noted.
The Texas Supreme Court has determined that, under the Texas Covenants Not to Compete Act, a covenant not to compete signed by a current employee in consideration for stock options is not unenforceable as a matter of law. The Court found the consideration is reasonably related to the companyâ€™s interest in protecting its goodwill, a business interest the Act recognizes as worthy of protection.