While work life and the work environment may look different currently in Texas and other states across the nation due to the spike in remote work, this does not change the legal protections enjoyed by employees. Specifically, state and federal employment laws protect employees from suffering from discrimination in the workplace. Thus, no matter the setting, if an employee believes that he or she has been subjected to workplace discrimination, it is imperative that they not only understand their rights but also the options available to remedy the matter.
Prohibition against workplace discrimination
In Texas, both state and federal laws are utilized to prohibit discrimination in the workplace. This goes beyond discrimination experienced during the employment period but also encompasses conduct during the hiring and firing phases as well. The goal of these laws is not only to prohibit such treatment but to also provide remedial action for employees that suffer from such a situation if it were to occur.
Complaints of discrimination
Claims related to workplace discrimination are investigated by the Texas Workforce Commission Civil Rights Division. When such claims are filed with the Texas Workforce Commission, the complaint is also filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. These complaints are not just for those claiming mistreatment regarding one’s protective characteristic trait, such as age, sex, gender and race, but they can also include claims of sexual harassment and retaliation.
As a means to encourage employees to file such actions, prohibition of retaliation against employees filing a discrimination claim is covered in Chapter 21 of the Texas Labor Code. Additionally, if discrimination or harassment is proven, remedies are available. This can include monetary penalties, providing an employee with back pay and even reinstatement.
Workplace discrimination can cause much detriment to an employee. It not only can result in a hostile work environment but it could also cause an employee to suffer damages, such as mental, emotional and financial harms. Thus, it is important for employees to understand what actions he or should could take, such as filing a civil suit. This not only helps place liability in the matter but can assist with the assessment of damages suffered because of it.