Employment Discrimination, Texas Lawyer

Texas Employment Discrimination Law

Texas is an employment at will state.  As recognized by the Texas Workforce Commissionabsent a statute or an express agreement (such as an employment contract) to the contrary, either party in an employment relationship may modify any of the terms or conditions of employment, or terminate the relationship altogether, for any reason, or no particular reason at all, with or without advance notice.

However, there are limitations to the “employment at will” doctrine.  One exception is the “public policy” exception which protects employees from termination or adverse job action in retaliation for the employee having refused to commit a criminal act on the employer’s behalf.

In addition, an employer cannot discriminate against an employee. The Texas Workforce Commission Civil Rights Division (TWCCRD) enforces the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act, (TCHRA). Chapter 21 of the Texas Labor Code codifies the Texas Discrimination laws:

Sec. 21.051.  DISCRIMINATION BY EMPLOYER.  An employer commits an unlawful employment practice if because of race, color, disability, religion, sex, national origin, or age the employer:

(1)  fails or refuses to hire an individual, discharges an individual, or discriminates in any other manner against an individual in connection with compensation or the terms, conditions, or privileges of employment; or

(2)  limits, segregates, or classifies an employee or applicant for employment in a manner that would deprive or tend to deprive an individual of any employment opportunity or adversely affect in any other manner the status of an employee.

Sec. 21.055 also makes it an unlawful employment practice to retaliate or discriminate against a person who (1)  opposes a discriminatory practice; (2)  makes or files a charge; (3)  files a complaint; or (4)  testifies, assists, or participates in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing.

If you have suffered an employment harm, because of your racecolorreligionnational originsex (including sexual harassment and pregnancy), agedisability, or retaliation, the TWCCRD may have jurisdiction to investigate your claim.

Texas is also a right to work state.  Under the Texas right to work laws, employment may not be conditioned or denied on the basis of membership or non-membership in a union.  See the Texas Labor Code  §§101.052-.053.

Federal Employment Discrimination Law

There are also Federal laws prohibiting job discrimination which are enforced by the EEOC:

The federal laws prohibit employers from using neutral employment policies and practices that have a disproportionately negative effect on applicants or employees of a particular race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), or national origin, or on an individual with a disability or class of individuals with disabilities, if the polices or practices at issue are not job-related and necessary to the operation of the business.

After timely filing with the EEOC and/or TWCCRD and allowing the agencies to investigate, employees may receive a Notice of Right to Sue.  Please see our post EEOC Charge of Discrimination.

You may also find useful information on these posts; Overtime Regulations, Wage and Hour Law, Texas Employment and Non Compete Agreements, and EEOC Charge of Discrimination, Defending and Resolving.

If you are a Texas employer in need of an Employment Lawyer with experience in defending Employment Discrimination case, please do not hesitate to give us a call.

Board Certified Labor and Employment Lawyer

East Texas Attorney, Michelle Jones is Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and has over 27 years experience helping employers.  If you are an employer in need of a Labor and Employment Lawyer, please do not hesitate to call Michelle at 903-236-4990 or toll-free at 888-236-4878.

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