William T. (Tommy) Simmons: What Employers Need to Know for 2017

William T. (Tommy) Simmons


William T. (Tommy) Simmons serves as legal counsel for Commissioner Ruth R. Hughs, the employer representative on the Texas Workforce Commission, where he advises the Commissioner on final-level unemployment and wage claim appeals, assists business groups with employment-related legislation, and counsels employers on Texas and federal employment laws. Mr. Simmons has served as legal advisor to the Commissioner representing employers since 1987 and has given over 2000 talks before employer groups. He authored the TWC book Especially for Texas Employers and is the editor of the Employment Law Handbook of the Texas Association of Business. Recent awards from employer groups include the Texas Payroll Conference (Spirit of TPC - 2004, and Government Partner Award - 2008) and the Texas Association of Business (Lifetime Friend of Employers Award - 2012). Mr. Simmons has also published employment law software for desktop computers and mobile device apps for employers in three different formats: web app (any mobile device), Android, and iPhone/iPad.

What Employers Need to Know for 2017

I. Recent Texas and Federal Legislation

II. Federal Regulatory Agency Updates

• U.S. Department of Labor – new FLSA regulations; OSHA regulatory agenda; FMLA

• EEOC – compliance focal points to watch in the future

• NLRB – recent compliance issues involving social media and employee policies

• IRS, USCIS, and others

III. Texas Regulatory Agency Updates

• Texas Workforce Commission – unemployment insurance, Texas Payday Law, and employment discrimination

• Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation

• Attorney General's Office – new hire reporting essentials

IV. The most important Texas and federal employment-related court cases in the recent past

V. Hot topics and best practices for limiting exposure to employment claims and lawsuits and minimizing any liability that does occur

Clinic Objective

Mr. Simmons will provide a survey of the most significant employment-related Texas legislation from 2017, a run-down of increased federal agency enforcement activities in the area of employment law, an update on how the Texas Workforce Commission has been ruling on unemployment, wage, and discrimination claims, and a summary of the most important and useful best practices for employers to follow in order to minimize the risk of employment claims and lawsuits.


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