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Federal Contractors Face Mandatory Vaccination Come December
by Tony Stergio Federal contractors and subcontractors with covered contracts will be required to have almost all of their employees vaccinated by December 8, 2021. Specifically, as of December 8, 2021, all covered federal contractors and subcontractors must:
  • Confirm full COVID-19 vaccination for all full-time and part-time employees, except in limited circumstances where an employee is legally entitled to an accommodation based upon legitimate religious belief or disability. The vaccination requirement includes employees who are not working on or in connection with a covered contract and those that are working remotely;
  • Review employees’ documentation to prove vaccination status;
  • Enforce compliance by individuals, including employees and visitors, related to masking and physical distancing while in covered contractor workplaces; and
  • Designate a person or persons to coordinate COVID-19 workplace safety efforts at covered contractor workplaces.
All covered contracts will include a COVID-19 vaccination mandate clause. Read More...

Thou Shall Not Vax: Employers Deal with More Attempts to Escape COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates
by Tony Stergio The religious exemption to employer-mandated vaccination policies has generally been considered narrow and historically used only by those with religious beliefs requiring the rejection of modern medical treatments. There has been a recent spate of dubious applications for religious exemptions from employer COVID-19 vaccine requirement. Many of those applications are fueled by politics or fear of the vaccine, likely due to misinformation. Employers, therefore, need to put in place careful vetting strategies for employees whose exemption requests raise red flags.

Legitimate Exemption Application
Notwithstanding the rise in illegitimate religious exemption applications, those reviewing religious exemption applications must be mindful of its legitimate scope. These religious exemptions cover not only traditional faiths, but also faiths that are new, uncommon, informal, or have a small number of practitioners. Religious beliefs also do not have to be theistic but can be based on strongly held moral or ethical beliefs. Federal law does not consider beliefs based on social, political, or economic philosophies, as well as mere personal preferences, to be religious beliefs.  Read More...

FFCRA Ending on September 30, 2021
by Tony Stergio All employers should keep in mind that the Families First Coronavirus Response Act is sunsetting on September 30, 2021. Therefore, any employee paid time off for COVID-related issues will not be reimbursable if taken after that date. While Congress may extend the FFCRA at some point, the end of September deadline still stands today.
Six-Figure Pay Plus Overtime?! The Full Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on Rehearing Rules in Favor of Employee on FLSA Claim
by Chuck Jeremiah  As previously noted, the full United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit agreed to hear a case involving an overtime claim against Helix Energy Solutions Group. An oil rig crew supervisor, claimed entitlement to overtime pay from his employer despite being paid compensation of more than $200,000 per year and having a supervisory role. 

The background: reversing the trial court’s decision, a panel of the Fifth Circuit of Appeals previously held that the employer, Helix, failed to meet the technical requirements of the claimed exemption from overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Specifically, Helix didn’t show that it paid Hewitt on a “salary basis” in accordance with the regulation, as necessary to demonstrate Helix’s entitlement to the “highly compensated” worker exemption from required overtime. Despite Hewitt’s substantial pay and undisputed supervisory duties, the Court concluded he qualified for, and should have been paid, overtime pay. The reported panel decision was Hewitt v. Helix Energy Solutions Group, Inc. 956 F.3d 341 (5th Cir. 2020). 

The full (en banc) Fifth Circuit Court of seventeen judges re-heard the case in May, and issued its’ much awaited decision earlier this month agreeing with the panel opinion. A decisive 12-5 majority of the judges joined in Judge James Ho’s opinion, holding Helix did not demonstrate entitlement to the exemption and thus, Hewitt is eligible for overtime pay. Five judges strongly disagreed with the majority, and joined in a spirited dissent authored by Judge Edith Jones. Read More...
2021 Texas Super Lawyers
Fourteen Andrews Myers attorneys, across 13 different practice groups from the firm's Houston and Austin offices, have been selected as Texas "Super Lawyers" for 2021. Super Lawyers, the lawyer rating service from Thomson Reuters, has published this year's survey results online and in its October issue of Texas Super Lawyer.
Bill Andrews, Hunter Barrow and Carson Fisk were also recognized in Texas Super Lawyers' "Top Lists," including Top 100: 2021 Texas Super Lawyers, Top 100: 2021 Houston Super Lawyers and Top 50: 2021 Central/West Texas Super Lawyers. Click here for the release.
Changes to Bidding for Public Works Projects
by Brittany Cooperrider  Contractors who regularly bid public works projects should be aware of new legislation that went into effect on September 1, 2021. As a result of House Bill 2581, which amended portions of Section 2269 of the Government Code, there are two notable changes related to bidding public works projects.

First, Government Code Section 2269.060 allows a party who submits a bid or proposal for a contract that falls within the chapter (to which routine bidders are aware there are numerous exemptions) to request that the government entity provide documents related to evaluation of the bid after a construction contract is awarded.

Second, pursuant to Government Code Section 2269.153, for civil works projects, the weighted value assigned to a bidder’s price must generally be at least 50% of the total weighted value of the selection criteria. The governmental entity may deviate from this rule only where it finds that assigning a lower weighted value to the price is in the public interest. In that instance, the weighted value assigned to the pricing may not be less than 40%.

Texas Two-Step for Commercial Motor Vehicle Litigation

by Wesley Walker  On September 1, 2021, HB 19 went into effect, dramatically altering how personal injury litigation involving a commercial motor vehicle is handled in Texas. The bill thwarts plaintiffs’ efforts to seek recovery from the employer of a driver as opposed to the driver alone. Under the law, a jury will have to find a driver liable for a motor vehicle crash before evidence of an employer’s potential liability and exemplary damages can be presented to the jury. HB 19 provides employers of drivers a timeframe to file a motion seeking to split aspects of a trial. The first trial phase will determine the driver’s liability and the amount of compensatory damages for the plaintiff. The second trial phase then determines the employer’s direct liability, for claims such as alleged negligent hiring or training, and the amount of exemplary damages.

Under the new law, evidence of a defendant’s alleged failure to comply with a regulation or standard may only be admitted in the first phase of the bifurcated trial if:

(1) the evidence tends to prove the alleged failure to comply with the regulation was a proximate cause of the injury from the motor vehicle accident; and

(2) the regulation or standard is specific and governs or is an element of a duty of care applicable to the defendant, applicable to the defendant’s employee, or when the defendant’s property or equipment are at issue. Read more...
Ongoing Arbitration in COVID-19
by Brent Pharis  If you are thinking about selling your business, imagine yourself as the potential buyer. What questions would you ask and what records would you want to see in making your decision?

The answers to these questions will tell you what you need to do to get your business ready for sale. For those business owners who keep their records in order, this will be a relatively easy task; for those less prone to do so, it may prove to be very time-consuming. If you are not presently looking to sell, but could at any time in the future, it might not hurt to keep these things in order.
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09/30 - NAIOP Luncheon
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10/05 - HCA Wildcat Golf Tournament
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10/07 - IREM Fashion Fundraiser
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10/15 - SPONSOR The Jorge Mas Canosa Freedom Foundation Golf
10/21 - SPONSOR The RBC Bad Pants Open 
10/26 - AGC Regional Safety Conference
10/28 - SPONSOR HBJ Webinar: Digital Disruption in the Commercial Real Estate Industry
10/28 - SPONSOR ABC Houston Excellence in Construction Awards
Andrews Myers, PC
Founded in 1990, with offices in Houston and Austin, Andrews Myers, Attorneys at Law, is a corporate law firm and recognized market leader in Texas construction law.  The firm focuses on the concentrated disciplines of commercial litigation, construction, commercial real estate, corporate and business transactions, with additional emphasis on related issues including bankruptcy and insolvency, energy, employment and capital formation. A seasoned team of attorneys provides timely and cost-effective solutions to the most complex problems facing entrepreneurs and middle-market industry leaders throughout the state and the nation. For more information please visit
COVID-19 Updates
Andrews Myers attorneys have been tracking and updating the many changes that could effect you and your business throughout the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic. To see all of the articles and information you may have missed, please visit our dedicated COVID-19 page on

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