Labor & Employment

Line of Workers from Different Industries
  • If you contract with Texas workers, you may have labor, safety, and tax obligations. Some of the labor, safety, access, and new hire reporting regulations administered by federal and state agencies are outlined below.

  • Workers' Compensation

    One of the great advantages of doing business in Texas is the choice most employers have concerning whether or not to carry workers' compensation insurance. The Texas Labor Code makes workers' compensation insurance optional in two ways:

    1. an employer can be self-insured (remaining under the rules and regulations of the workers' compensation laws but essentially acting as a self-insurer), or
    2. becoming what is termed a "non-subscriber" – that is, doing without workers' compensation insurance entirely.

    Employers of approximately one-third of the employees in Texas "opt out" of the system, choosing to either take on that entire risk or by purchasing an alternative type of insurance coverage and perhaps even establishing their own (sometimes better or higher) benefits for employees who are injured on the job. Some non-subscribers feel that the level of freedom and control is greater and some feel the benefits they can offer employees are superior outside the system. Some employers who opt out of the no-fault workers' compensation system, which is mandatory in every state except Texas, report a greater sense of conflict avoidance, internal control over fraudulent claims and the lack of government impositions. Others feel the risks are too great and choose to stay in the no-fault, state-controlled workers' compensation arena. You may wish to contact an attorney licensed in Texas for advice on these alternatives and the risks involved. Alternatively contacting the Texas Association of Responsible Nonsubscribers, the Texas Association of Business, the Texas Department of Insurance or the Texas Alliance of Nonsubscribers may be of assistance.

    The Texas Workers' Compensation Commission publishes a new law guide, a quarterly newsletter, and an information brochure for employers to help them become more familiar with the basic requirements for workers' compensation in Texas. To request these publications, contact:

    For information on workers' compensation classifications groups, contact:

    Texas Department of Insurance Division of Workers' Compensation
    7551 Metro Center Drive, Suite 100
    Austin, Texas 78744-1609
    (512) 804-4000

    Texas Department of Insurance
    333 Guadalupe
    Austin, Texas 78701
    (512) 322-3493

  • Equal Employment Opportunity

    Federal and state laws prohibit employment discrimination. The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Texas Workforce Commission ("TWC"), Human Rights Division are charged with enforcing laws which prohibit certain forms of discrimination, including discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, disability, age, or national origin. Employers with 15 or more employees engaged in an industry affecting commerce, employment agencies, and labor unions are prohibited from denying equal employment opportunities. Regardless of the number of individuals employed, a county, municipality, and any state agency or instrumentality including public institutes of education, are also prohibited from denying equal employment opportunities. The TWC, Human Rights Division will assist local governments in establishing human rights commissions and provide technical assistance and training to employers to facilitate compliance with laws prohibiting employment discrimination. The TWC, Human Rights Division has jurisdiction for investigating employment complaints in Texas. The EEOC promotes voluntary programs that allow employers and organizations to implement equal employment opportunity programs within their businesses. For information regarding federal equal employment requirements, contact:

     

    U.S. EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION

    Dallas District Office
    207 South Houston, 3rd Floor
    Dallas, Texas 75202
    (214) 655-3355 or (214) 655-3363 (TDD)

    El Paso District Office
    Commons Building C, Suite 100
    4171 North Mesa Street
    El Paso, Texas 79902
    (915) 534-6550 or (915) 534-6545 (TDD)

    Houston District Office
    1919 Smith Street, 7th Floor
    Houston, Texas 77002
    (713) 209-3320 or (713) 209-3367 (TDD)

    San Antonio District Office
    5410 Fredericksburg Road, Suite 200
    Mockingbird Plaza, Plaza II
    San Antonio, Texas 78229
    (210) 229-4810 or (210) 229-4858

    Texas also has requirements for equal employment under Chapter 21 of the Texas Labor Code. For information regarding state equal employment requirements, contact:

    Texas Workforce Commission, Human Rights Division
    101 East 15th Street
    Austin, Texas 78778
    (512) 463-3222

    Texas Workforce Commission, Civil Rights Division
    1117 Trinity Street, Room 144-T
    Austin, Texas 78701
    (512) 463-2642 or (800) 735-2989

  • Plant Closings

    The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN), Public Law 100-379 (29 U.S.C. 2101 et seq.), requires certain employers to provide notice 60 days in advance of covered plant closings and covered mass layoffs (of employees subject to the Texas Unemployment Compensation Act). Notice must be made to either the affected workers or their representatives (e.g., a labor union), to the EDWAA Unit at TWC, and to the appropriate unit of local government. For more information or to request a copy of the WARN Act, contact:

    EDWAA Unit
    Texas Workforce Commission
    101 East 15th Street, Suite 104T
    Austin, Texas 78778-0001
    (512) 936-0361

  • Disability Resources

    Americans with Disabilities Act Requirements

    The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides protection for people who have or have a record of having a disability in the areas of employment, public services and transportation, public accommodation, and telecommunications. The ADA also protects people who are regarded as having a disability. For more information on how the ADA may affect a business and for technical assistance with provisions applying to employment, contact:

    U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
    1801 L Street N W
    Washington, D.C. 20507
    (800) 669-4000 or (800) 669-6820 (TDD)

    For technical assistance regarding the ADA standards for accessible design and other ADA provisions applying to businesses, nonprofit agencies, and state and local government services, contact:

    Office on the Americans with Disabilities Act: Civil Rights Division
    U.S. Department of Justice
    P.O. Box 66738
    Washington, DC 20035
    (800) 514-0301 or (800) 514-0383 (TDD)

    For specific information regarding the ADA requirements for telecommunications, contact:

    Federal Communications Commission
    1919 M Street N W
    Washington, D.C. 20554
    (202) 418-0600 or (202) 418-7233 (TDD)

    For information regarding the ADA requirements for accessible design in new construction and alterations, contact:

    U.S. Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board
    1331 F Street N W, Suite 1000
    Washington, DC 20004
    (800) 872-2253 or (800) 993-2822 (TDD)

    For information regarding the ADA requirements for transportation, contact:

    U.S. Department of Transportation
    400 Seventh Street SW
    Washington, DC 20590
    (888) 446-4511 or (800) 877-8339 (TDD)

    Chapter 21 of the Texas Labor Code

    For information and technical assistance on Texas state disability policy information, disability statistics, and local disability resources, contact:

    Texas Governor's Committee on People With Disabilities
    P.O. Box 12428
    Austin, Texas 78711
    (512) 463-5739 or (512) 463-5746 (TDD)

    The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation reviews construction documents for the construction or substantial renovation, modification, or alteration of buildings or facilities defined as public or commercial accommodations for architectural barriers. This review is mandated through the Americans with Disabilities Act. For additional information on architectural barriers, contact:

    Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation
    E.O. Thompson State Office Building
    P.O. Box 12157
    Austin, Texas 78711
    (512) 463-3211 or (800) 803-9202

     

  • Workplace Safety

    The Occupational Safety and Health Consultations (OSHCON) program is administered by the Texas Department of Insurance, Department of Workers' Compensation. Professional safety and health consultants across the state are available to help identify and eliminate occupational hazards in your workplace, whether or not your company carries workers' compensation insurance. Free on-site safety and health inspections are available to alert the employer of possible federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) violations. Employers with fewer than 150 employees, who take advantage of the free inspection and meet the federal requirements, will be exempted from a scheduled inspection for 12 months. For more information regarding state occupational safety and health requirements, contact:

    OSHCON
    Texas Department of Insurance
    Division of Workers' Compensation
    7551 Metro Center Drive, Ste. 100
    Austin, Texas 78744
    (512) 804-4636

    Texas Workers Compensation Commission
    (800) 687-7080

    For information regarding federal occupational safety requirements, contact:

    Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
    U.S. Department of Labor, Regional Office
    525 Griffin Street, Room 602
    Dallas, Texas 75202
    (214) 767-4731

  • Wage Requirements

    Federal and state laws regulate minimum wage, payment for overtime, scheduling of paydays and other wage and hour matters affecting employers in Texas. For information on federal minimum wage laws, overtime, and other questions regarding wages and hours, contact:

    U.S. Department of Labor
    Regional Wage and Hour Offices
       Corpus Christi: (512) 888-3520
       Dallas: (214) 767-6294
       Houston: (713) 339-5500
       San Antonio: (210) 229-4515

    For general information regarding federal labor laws, contact:

    U.S. Department of Labor
    Regional Office
    525 Griffin Street, Suite 800
    Dallas, Texas 75202
    (214) 767-6895

    The Texas Workforce Commission is charged with investigating and notifying appropriate county and/or district attorneys regarding all labor law violations. The Labor Law Department is charged with the enforcement of state and federal labor laws as well as the prosecution of offenders of these laws. State statutes include the Pay Day and Child Labor laws. For additional information, contact:

    Texas Workforce Commission Labor Law Department
    101 East 15th Street
    Austin, Texas 78778
    (512) 837-9559 or (800) 832-9243

    For information regarding the Texas Payday Law, contact:

    TWC Labor Law Section
    101 East 15th Street, Room 124-T
    Austin, Texas 78778-0001
    (800) 832-WAGE

    The Texas Workforce Commission provides a general employer information package for employers. To request this package, contact:

    Employer's Representative
    Texas Workforce Commission
    101 East 15th Street
    Austin, Texas 78778
    (512) 463-2826 or (800) 832-9394

    For labor-related questions, please contact:

    Labor's Representative
    Texas Workforce Commission
    101 East 15th Street
    Austin, Texas 78778
    (512) 463-2829 or (800) 832-2829

    Standards for apprenticeship training programs in Texas follow guidelines set forth by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training. Specific details regarding these programs may be requested by contacting:

    Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training
    U.S. Department of Labor
    525 Griffin Street, Suite 628
    Dallas, Texas 75202
    (214) 767-9263

  • New Hire Requirements

    Effective October 1, 1998, in accordance with the federal Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996, all Texas employers are required to report certain information on newly hired and rehired employees to the State Directory of New Hires.

    To request an employee packet from the Texas Workforce Commission, contact:

    Texas Employer New Hire Reporting
    Operations Center
    P.O. Box 149224
    Austin, Texas 78714-9224
    (888) 839-4473 (TEX-HIRE)

  • Drug-Free Workplace

    Advice is available to Texas employers with 15 or more employees who maintain workers' compensation coverage. Employers must comply with certain drug-free workplace requirements, and are also subject to federal regulations. These federal regulations include the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 and U.S. Department of Transportation regulations requiring drug and alcohol testing. For information, contact:

    Texas Drug-Free Workplace Initiative
    2525 Wallingwood, Bldg. 5
    Austin, Texas 78746
    (512) 328-1144 or (800) 343-3822