AuthorLaura M. Franze
F-17 Texas employmenT law
PrE fa cE
For many Americans, Texans surely among them, the job provides not just a living, but a life. Our work is
a central source of identity, of how we define ourselves to others. Thus, the job we do and the workplace we do
it in are not just economic imperatives, but are of profound importance to the quality and meaning of our lives.
When that employment or workplace is threatened, a way of life is threatened. It should, therefore, come as no
surprise that employment law in Texas and elsewhere has become a significant portion of our jurisprudence.
We are in the midst of an era of tremendous change in the legal underpinnings of the employment rela-
tionship. To illustrate the breadth and scope of that change, consider this: in many areas of the law it is possible
to cite precedents, still valid today, that date back for centuries. Employment law, however, is based overwhelm-
ingly on law that dates back little over thirty years. The first major statute concerning employment law is a mere
thirty-four years old and most of the precedent cited in this book is of far more recent vintage. In fact, the body
of statutes and case law that we rely upon as employees and employers in this great state is so lately developed
that virtually all of the currently applicable law has developed within the period of active practice of some not so
ancient members of our living bar.
The changing and expanding nature of employment law is significant to the existence of this book for another
reason. Thirty years ago, employment – or “labor” law as it was then called- consisted primarily of federal labor
relations law governing union organizing and collective bargaining, as well as federal wage and hour law. The
first cases under the first comprehensive statute concerning discrimination in employment were just arriving at the
courthouse – the federal courthouse. A book on Texas employment law would either have been very short or would
have been a redundancy of the many federal-law-oriented books. Today, at least as much employment law is
practiced at the state courthouse as at its federal counterpart, and yet, far less has been written about state based
law and state public policies and, yes, even judicial district and circuit differences in enforcement. It is hoped that
Texas Employment Law will, to some extent, fill a void in the library of those concerned with workplace law.
Federal law is discussed in this book, especially as it relates to Texas law, but it is not the focus of the
book, as numerous sources exist for the researcher in this area. This book focuses instead on Texas law- whether
that be the law of our statutes or the interpretations and application of the law by the Texas Appellate and
Supreme Courts. We note, of course, that state law is sometimes enforced in federal courts. Further, there are
differences of interpretation within the various federal circuit courts of appeal that will affect the law applied to
Texas employers and employees. Therefore, considerable effort has been made to exhaustively research the
application of laws relating to employment by the federal district courts within the State of Texas and the hold-
ings of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, the Circuit which includes the State of Texas. Certainly the
precedent of other courts is often cited in these pages, but special attention is due and has been given to the
judicial authority most commonly affecting the employment relationship in Texas.
This book represents the thinking of outstanding employment lawyers from all over the state and from all
aspects of the practice. The employment law practitioners who have contributed their ideas and experiences to
this work include management attorneys, plaintiffs’ attorneys, and former government attorneys, and others. Our
authors do have one thing in common. They all live and work with the issues they write about. We have no “ivory
tower” pontificators here. The emphasis is solidly on the practical. Not only does this book provide a sensible
and comprehensive analysis of the law, but also it answers the many practical issues and problems facing Texas
employers and employees in the workplace. In addition, and for the same reason, the various chapters may reflect
the orientation of a particular author’s practice, whether that is management-side oriented, employee-side oriented
or a mixture of both. Every effort was made to assure that any bias in perspective did not influence the setting forth
of the substance of the law. Differences in perspective on advocacy or ideology may well exist, but it seems to
me that such differences are a strength, rather than a shortcoming of the book. As our system of law is one that
depends on advocacy, a little advocacy can’t hurt and may actually facilitate understanding for all readers.
Laura M. Franze
September 15, 1998
Dallas, Texas

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