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Galveston Legal Blog

Did subcontractors cause construction defects in your home?

The use of subcontractors by construction companies is a relatively common practice. For many companies that build homes, it could be difficult if not downright impossible to predict when new projects will come in and how many skilled workers they will need to complete things by the deadline.

As a result, instead of retaining a massive staff of employees that may be superfluous much of the year, companies often hire subcontractors to whom they have fewer obligations and responsibilities. The use of subcontractors in construction can keep the overall costs lower for both the companies and the consumers involved.

In Texas, you have dispute resolution options before court

If you have an issue with a contract, whether it is a dispute with a former employee or an issue with a supplier for your business, you may quickly find yourself worrying about how you can enforce your rights. Far too many people immediately jump to litigation, failing to realize that there may be other options available before they go to court.

The state of Texas allows individuals or businesses to pursue several kinds of legal alternative dispute resolution options before they ask the courts to intervene in a contract dispute. While it is not necessary to take advantage of these alternative dispute resolution systems, they may offer more affordable and faster ways for your company to address contract issues.

Include these important details in your employee handbook

With the help of an employee handbook, it's easier to share with your workforce important information that provides guidance from their first day on the job.

It doesn't matter if you're creating an employee handbook for the first time or reviewing one that you already have in place, there are some essential topics to include. Here are several to touch on:

  • Pay: This includes everything from how and when you pay your employees to the way you determine pay and raises.
  • Hours: For example, clearly define your company's hours of operation. Also, if working hours are different for full- and part-time employees, make note of it here.
  • Overtime: If your company permits overtime, clearly define any terms and conditions associated with it. For example, you may require employees to receive approval to work additional hours.
  • Benefits: Share information on the benefits you offer, who qualifies for them and how to receive them.
  • Vacation and sick time policy: This is something that every employee wants to learn more about, so clearly define it in this section. Gray area in regard to vacation and sick time has the potential to complicate things in the future.
  • Harassment: Make it clear that your company does not stand for any form of harassment in the workplace. Provide employees with a clear reporting policy, so they know what to do if they're a victim of some form of harassment.
  • Discipline: You hope it never comes into play, but you know there will be times when an employee needs to be disciplined. Outlining when and how this works, along with common examples, will give your employees a better understanding of the consequences of their behavior.

Accurate timekeeping software and practices benefit companies

One of the most critical aspects of an employment relationship is the agreement to pay compensation for your workers' time. In your employment contracts, you outline to your staff the hourly wage they can expect to earn. There are also expectations outlined regarding their performance of the job and other matters.

Mistakes with payroll do sometimes happen. After all, simple mistakes can happen in any aspect of business. However, payroll and timekeeping mistakes are more likely than any other kind of mistake to squander the goodwill of your employees and damage your relationship with them. Employees may be skeptical that what happened was an accident if their payment is short or miscalculated.

3 basic components of a comprehensive estate plan

Estate planning is a task that most people don't want to think about, but it is critical that everyone gets their plan set before their loved ones need to use any component. While you might think that your estate plan won't go into effect before you pass away, this isn't the case. Some areas of your estate plan are used if you become incapacitated.

If you don't have a current estate plan, now is the ideal time to get one created. If you already have one in place but haven't reviewed it lately, you can get it done now. Remember that it should be comprehensive.

Support company harassment policy with tailored training

How can sexual harassment policies and procedures support the culture of a company? A carefully drafted policy and reporting procedure can mitigate the risk of employment-related litigation over workplace discrimination and harassment.

Most companies have a policy on the books, but employment laws change with new federal or state legislation and court interpretations. Thus, it is important to review these policies and procedures on a routine basis. Then, follow up with training to prevent incidents.

U.S. Supreme Court upholds wage-and-hour arbitration clauses

Here at Mills Shirley LLP, we advise employers about their duties under state and federal wage-and-hour laws. These laws impose specific requirements regarding minimum wage, breaks, overtime, classification of workers as either employees or contractors, and classification of employees as exempt or nonexempt.

In addition to compliance advice, we also defend our employer clients against allegations of wage-and-hour violations, including complaints filed with government agencies and lawsuits.

Carefully drafted contracts are crucial for business success

Here at Mills Shirley LLP with offices in Galveston and Houston, Texas, we advise business clients from many different industries and of all sizes, from individual businesspeople to large companies. One of our most important services to our commercial clients is to see that their business contracts are appropriately and solidly written to meet their unique needs. 

Ways legal counsel can help with contracts 

Texas employers: Know your overtime responsibilities

Here at Mills Shirley LLP, we advise employers that run businesses of all sizes and types about their legal responsibilities to comply with federal and state overtime laws. An employer must make a careful decision about whether a worker is exempt, nonexempt or an independent contractor. Second, if the worker is nonexempt, careful recordkeeping of hours worked must be made to ensure that he or she is correctly paid overtime as required by law. 

Exempt or nonexempt? 

Keller school district sues builders for defective foundation

Here at Mills Shirley LLP, we represent all types of parties involved in Texas construction projects — public, residential or commercial — in the resolution of disputes over contracts, defects, warranties, insurance and more. Our lawyers advise property owners as well as contractors, architects, sureties, engineers and others in a wide variety of construction-related conflicts

Our attorneys draft or review complex construction contracts in an effort to create tight, comprehensive agreements not likely to result in conflict. When conflict does arise, we help parties come to agreement outside of court through negotiation or mediation whenever possible, which can be a cost and time savings. However, we will represent clients in construction lawsuits when necessary to protect their interests. 

Established in the 1840s when Galveston was the largest city in the state, Mills Shirley LLP has always been an integral part of Texas history and the Gulf Coast community.
Super Lawyers Texas Top Rated Lawyers State Bar Of Texas | Created in 1939

Mills Shirley LLP

Galveston Office
2228 Mechanic Street
Suite 400
Galveston, TX 77550

Phone: 409-761-1498
Fax: 866-674-7808
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Three Riverway
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Houston, TX 77056

Phone: 713-242-1880
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