Employment Law -- Employee
Texas Employment Law
Ranking as the second-best U.S. state for business, Texas is often seen as a friendly place where small businesses thrive. But Texas’s employment laws tend to permit more freedoms for businesses which can create friction between employers and employees.
One of the hottest issues in Texas employment law is workplace discrimination, specifically sexual orientation and gender identity. Texas employment law doesn’t offer explicit protections to these classes of workers, allowing employers to discriminate in employment, termination and promotional decisions. Several Texas cities, including San Antonio, Dallas, Austin and Houston, are taking steps to address this issue.
Employment law covers a multitude of topics, including worker’s compensation, workplace discrimination, vacation and overtime, unemployment benefits and more. Your employment dispute is often affected by federal, state and local laws simultaneously. Texas employment law attorneys are experienced with the delicacy and complexity of work-related cases and can help protect your rights.
Common Texas Employment Law Issues
Texas is known as an “at-will” employment state. This means that unless there is an express agreement (such as an employment contract), either you or your employer may change the terms of your employment at any time. This also means that you or your employer may terminate your employment at any time. Most employees are hired at-will with no employment contracts.
Any part of an employment relationship, such as pay, schedules, job descriptions, etc., may be altered if there’s no express contract in place.
While at-will employment could mean that your employer may fire you for any reason, Texas also guarantees an employee’s right to work. Employers cannot deny or condition employment based on whether you’re a member of a labor union.
Texas Minimum Wage
At this time, Texas’s minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, which is also the federal minimum wage. This will remain Texas’s minimum wage for now despite an effort made by 14 other states to raise the minimum wage in 2016. An effort to raise Texas’s minimum wage in 2015 failed to make it onto the ballots.
Employee vs. Independent Contractor in Texas
A worker’s relationship with an employer is defined largely on who is responsible for things like who pays for taxes and expenses and who is in charge.
Generally, if the employer holds more responsibilities in the relationship, the worker is considered an employee. If the worker holds more responsibilities, they are considered an independent contractor.
Texas judges whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor based on 20 criteria, including:
- If a worker receives instructions on how, where, and when to work from the employer, they are likely an employee. If they work independently with few, if any, instructions from the employer, they are likely an independent contractor.
- If a worker has a schedule dictated by the employer, they are likely an employee. If they are in charge of their own working schedule, they are likely an independent contractor.
- If a worker can quit a job without liability on their part, they are likely an employee. If an independent contractor quits a job, they are liable for a breach of contract.
Get Help from an Employment Attorney
If you or a loved one is involved in an employment law dispute, it’s in your best interests to consult with an attorney. Employment law is a broad, complicated legal area with federal and state laws at play. An experienced employment law attorney can help protect your legal rights.