Chapter 2501 of the Texas Occupations Code governs “Personnel Services”. Personnel Services “means a person who, regardless of whether for a fee, directly or indirectly attempts to obtain permanent employment for an applicant or obtains or attempts to obtain permanent employment for an employee.” Chapter 2501 places a number of requirements on those offering personnel services including a bond requirement, caps fees in certain circumstances, and sets forth a laundry list of 10 “Prohibited Practices”. A plaintiff who files a lawsuit and asserts a violation of the statute can obtain attorneys’ fees. Further, a violation of 2501 can also constitute a violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
In terms of protection of placement professionals, 2501 states that a service file (defined as “a job order, resume, application, workpaper, or other record containing information related to: (A) an applicant; (B) an employer; (C) an employment position; or (D) the operation of a personnel service.”) is a Trade Secret pursuant to Section 31.05 of the Texas Penal Code, the Theft of Trade Secrets criminal statute. Thus an individual who attempts to take a service file from his or her employer could potentially be subject to not only civil proceedings but criminal as well.