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Houston Employment Law Blog

Race discrimination can include bias against certain hairstyles

As many Americans have become more willing to discuss race openly, the subtle racism inherent in workplace expectations has come into sharper focus. Without realizing it, many workplaces define “professional” behavior, dress and grooming practices according to white norms. In some cases, these standards are difficult or impossible for non-whites to meet due to inherent differences in physical traits that have no impact on ability or job performance.

Perhaps the best example is hair. Many styles are deemed perfectly acceptable and professional for women in the workplace. But the styles most often considered “unprofessional” are the natural hairstyles of African-American women, including braids, twists and afros. As such, black women face discrimination simply for wearing their hair as it naturally grows (without resorting to extreme measures like chemical treatments to change texture or color).

What types of basic labor laws apply to Texas employers?

Employees often have questions about rest periods, breaks and pay. These are serious matters because all employees have specific rights regarding work. When any of the applicable laws are broken, workers may take legal action.

It is important that you understand not only Texas law, but also federal laws and employer rules regarding these matters. Here are a few basic points that all employees should know.

Sexual orientation discrimination is a problem, but shouldn't be

When people think of workplace protections from discrimination, they may not immediately consider how oppressed the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community remains in the workforce. However, there are specific protections for these individuals in our country that get abused far too often.

In February of 2018, the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Civil Rights Act of 1964's Title VII makes discrimination against employees based on their sexual orientation illegal. This ruling was vital for these employees. A survey by Career Builder noted that of the 3,420 full-time employees who identified as LGBT and participated in the study, 56 percent were repeatedly bullied at work.

Factors that impact age discrimination claims

Age discrimination isn't allowed in the workplace due to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which is a federal law. The law applies to people over 40 years old. For anyone who thinks they are the victim of age discrimination, learning about the applicable laws is important. There are some specific points that can significantly impact these cases.

Employer qualifications

Study shows employees may fare worse in arbitration cases

When you have a complaint about an employer who is breaking the law, one of your primary concerns is getting the behavior to stop. For some individuals, such as those who are victims of discrimination or harassment, legal action is necessary.

The methods of resolution in these cases vary. Sometimes, mediation is possible but there are times when arbitration is used. If you are the employee in the case, you should be very careful if you have to go through arbitration.

You have rights under the FMLA to care for a sick family member

When you were young your family took care of you. Now, as an adult, you find that the roles had switched. Someone in your family needs you to help care for them. If you have the physical and financial ability to do so, you may want to fill that need for your family member.

Unfortunately, whether they live in another city or simply require intensive, ongoing care, it is likely that you cannot balance an outside job with full-time caregiving for a loved one struggling after an injury or during a serious illness.

How must employers treat religious employees?

One of the founding concepts of this country is that everyone has the freedom to exercise their own religious beliefs. This protection doesn't only involve community events. It extends to a person's employment.

It is against the law for employers to discriminate against or harass an employee on the basis of a protected status. There are many points about this type of behavior that anyone in the workforce should be aware of.

Is the wage gap between genders and races discriminatory?

There are many considerations that come into the picture when an employer is deciding what a worker will earn. While this is understandable in terms of experience, time with the company and job duties, there are some factors that should never be part of the process.

Unfortunately, there are still some employees who make less than others based on factors that don't have anything to do with their job performance, training or education. Factors like race and gender must never be considered when they are trying to set a person's salary.

Texas and federal laws address discrimination in the workplace

Workplace discrimination is illegal in Texas. The Texas Workforce Commission Civil Rights Division and the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission work to ensure that employees in this state can do their jobs without harassment or discrimination based on any protected status.

There are specific facts that workers must consider if they believe they've been discriminated against.

Steps to stop workplace discrimination

The realization that you've been a victim of discrimination may not come all at once. At first, the events might be so subtle that you could think you were imagining things. As time progresses and additional exchanges take place, you will slowly see what's really going on.

Discrimination can come from another employee, a supervisor, an executive, an owner, a vendor, a client or a customer. All forms of discrimination are against the law and must not be allowed in the workplace. Here are some points to remember about workplace discrimination of all sorts:

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