Segregation is often thought of as something from a bygone era, a practice relegated to history. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and employees can find themselves experiencing illegal segregation.
State and federal law
Discriminatory segregation is made illegal at the federal level by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and at the state level by Texas Labor Code Chapter 21. These laws protect employees from employment discrimination based on race and other protected classes. These laws apply to all private employers that employ 15 or more employees and all governmental entities.
So, how does illegal, discriminatory segregation pop up in the workplace? An employer may physically isolate their minority employees from other employees or customers, like mandating they can only be in the warehouse, never in the front. Another example would be assigning only or primarily minorities to areas that are predominantly minority, like assigning minority sales representatives to only minority neighborhoods. Yet another example is excluding minorities from certain positions or ensuring that certain jobs are generally held only by minorities. Finally, coding resumes and applications with an applicant’s race for the purpose of excluding them or only looking at them for certain positions is also illegal segregation.
What to do if one is the victim of discrimination
For Houston, Texas, employees, contact an attorney immediately. The attorney can walk discrimination victims through filing a complaint with the state, and even go over whether one has a case. Though, even if one is not comfortable contacting an attorney first, anyone that believes they are a discrimination victim, they can submit a discrimination complaint through the TWC Civil Rights Division.