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Jonathan Clark is a partner in the Labor and Employment Practice Group in the firm's Dallas office.

On April 23, 2024, the Federal Trade Commission (the “FTC”) voted 3-2 to issue its final rule (“Final Rule”) banning employers from imposing noncompete clauses on their workers, approving the final rule in a special Open Commission Meeting. Continue Reading FTC Votes to Ban Noncompete Agreements

On April 17, 2024, the U.S. Supreme Court resolved a decades-old circuit split regarding what amount of harm a plaintiff must demonstrate to bring an employment discrimination claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (“Title VII”). In Muldrow v. City of St. Louis, a unified Court ruled that a plaintiff need only show “some”—and not “significant”—harm from an employment decision to plead and prove employment discrimination under Title VII. Before Muldrow, a number of appellate courts dismissed transfer-based Title VII claims unless the plaintiff could show that the transfer resulted in “significant” harm. The Supreme Court rejected that standard in Muldrow, holding that a plaintiff need only show that the transfer resulted in “some harm” with respect to an identifiable term or condition of employment. The Supreme Court’s new standard raises fresh considerations for employers making transfer decisions, and may have broader implications beyond the transfer context.Continue Reading Supreme Court Eases Burden for Title VII Plaintiffs Challenging Transfer Decisions

Last week, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upended longstanding, employer-friendly precedent in cases brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. For decades, an employment discrimination plaintiff in the Fifth Circuit had to demonstrate the “adverse employment action” forming the basis of their complaint constituted an “ultimate employment decision”—which the Court of Appeals effectively limited to hiring, firing, promotion, or compensation. No longer. In a move sure to surprise some, the traditionally employer-friendly Court broadened the scope of cognizable discrimination claims in the Fifth Circuit.Continue Reading Fifth Circuit Upends 30 Years of Title VII Precedent, Making it Easier for Employees to Bring Discrimination Claims

Imagine paying millions to acquire a company only to later discover the restrictive covenants in the employment agreements of high-level executives were unenforceable. That’s precisely what happened in Intertek Asset Integrity Management. In Intertek, Texas’s Twelfth Court of Appeals held a company Vice President’s non-compete was unenforceable by the purchaser-entity because the underlying employment agreement lacked an assignment clause. Such language, if included, would have permitted the seller to transfer the contract’s rights and obligations without the employee’s consent. Assignability clauses are frequently buried in the “miscellaneous” section of agreements and—too often—omitted. Businesses who overlook these terms in Texas employment contracts do so at their peril.Continue Reading Missed Assignments: The Importance of Assignability Clauses in Restrictive Covenant Agreements

On June 24, 2022, in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the United States Supreme Court overturned both Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey and held the access to abortion is not a right protected by the United States Constitution. This article analyzes several employment law issues employers may face following the Dobbs decision.Continue Reading What Employers Need to Know in a Post-Dobbs Landscape

On December 17, 2021, in a “Friday Night Surprise” the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the Stay on the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS).  This seminal ETS applies to employers with 100 or more employees and requires that employees be either (1) vaccinated; or (2) weekly tested and fully masked if unvaccinated.  While it is anticipated that the Supreme Court will ultimately decide whether the ETS stands, OSHA has already stated that they will begin enforcement of the ETS in January 2022.  Specifically, OSHA will enforce all requirements except testing for unvaccinated employees beginning January 10, 2022, and enforcement related to testing will begin February 9, 2022.
Continue Reading OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard Survival Guide

In a move sure to generate controversy, confusion, and litigation, on October 11, 2021, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an Executive Order effectively prohibiting all private businesses from requiring employees or customers be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Continue Reading COVID Confusion: Texas Governor Issues Executive Order Effectively Banning Vaccine Mandates

Total Planetary Alignment. Halley’s Comet. A Full Solar Eclipse. Texas Enacting Heightened Employee Protections Beyond Federal Law.

What are “things that rarely happen in your lifetime?”

In Texas, the general rule is that employee-facing legal protections overlap with—and extend no further than—its federal counterparts. But newly-enacted state legislation concerning workplace sexual harassment has bucked that trend.Continue Reading New Texas Law Expands Employee Rights and Employer Liability for Sexual Harassment Claims

On March 22, 2020, the Chief Executive Officer of Dallas County, Texas (County Judge Clay Jenkins) issued a “Stay Home Stay Safe” order for residents of Dallas County.  The Order takes effect at 11:59 p.m. on March 23 and continues until midnight on April 3rd.
Continue Reading Go Home, Dallas: County Enacts “Shelter in Place” Order in Wake of Pandemic

Earlier this year, a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously rejected the notion that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects individuals from discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or transgender status. More than a standard-issue opinion, however, the Fifth Circuit’s holding was a laser-focused rebuke of a widely-publicized district court opinion which held Title VII’s prohibition on sex-discrimination applies to transgender individuals.
Continue Reading Title VII Reversal: Fifth Circuit Holds No Transgender Protections Under Civil Rights Statute

A 21st Century Social Movement

In this age of interconnectivity, compelling societal movements have a never-before-seen speed and reach. Traditional means of spreading information and generating social change have been supplemented—if not outright replaced—by the near-instantaneous ability of an idea or cause to go viral on social media, regardless of its source. In 2018, the gatekeepers—and indeed, the gates—to disseminating content and generating popular support are being dismantled before our eyes. Nowhere over the past year was this more evident than in the #MeToo movement.
Continue Reading EEOC Data Confirms #MeToo’s Impact: Six Keys for Employers in the Wake of This Powerful Cultural Moment