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Recent Employment Law Developments: What Employers Should Know

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In the ever-evolving landscape of employment law, staying informed is crucial for employers. Over the past year, Texas has seen significant legal changes that impact businesses and their workforce, such as:

Expanding the Definition of Adverse Actions
What changed: Case law has broadened the scope of actions that qualify as adverse in discrimination claims. Previously overlooked actions now carry legal weight.
Why it matters: Employers need to understand what constitutes adverse actions to avoid unintentional discrimination. Fair treatment and consistent policies are critical.

Heightened Burden to Deny Religious Accommodation Requests
What changed: The standard for religious discrimination claims has been reinterpreted. Employers now face a higher burden in justifying denials of religious accommodations.
Why it matters: Employers should review policies and practices to ensure compliance. Previously, requests for religious accommodation could be denied if the accommodation would impose more than a de minimis cost. Employers will now have to meet a significantly higher burden to justify denying an accommodation request. Balancing business needs with religious rights is essential.

Salary Threshold for Overtime Exemption Raised
What changed: The salary threshold for exemption from overtime pay has been raised. Employers must adjust compensation structures accordingly.
Why it matters: Compliance with overtime rules is crucial. Regular reviews of salary levels are necessary to avoid legal pitfalls.

On April 23rd, one of the biggest employment law changes occurred when The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) voted to ban non-compete agreements between employers and employees. The rule is currently set to go into effect 120 days after publication in the Federal Register (except for the notice provision, which is effective earlier). This change is the result of the FTC’s position that these agreements are unfair methods of competition in violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act.

A narrow exception exists for high-earning “senior executives.” However, eventually, all employment-based non-competes will be prohibited nationwide. These changes mean that employers will be required to provide notice to workers other than senior executives who are bound by an existing non-compete that they will not be enforcing any non-competes against them.

Multiple lawsuits have been filed contesting the legality of the FTC’s ban, but for now, the ban is in effect and employers should prepare for the change.

These changes can impact hiring practices, employee mobility, and business strategies. Employers must stay informed, seek legal counsel, and adopt new policies. Consider alternative provisions like non-solicitation agreements and non-disclosure clauses. Now more than ever, it is important to protect your organization and its workforce in this ever-changing environment.

The Naman Howell team is always happy to talk with your team about these changes and how they can impact your business. Reach out to a member of our team today.

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