As an employee in Texas, you are protected against various forms of workplace discrimination. All Texas workers have the right to feel safe, free from discrimination while performing their job. However, if your rights are being violated, our disability discrimination lawyer Austin is here to help.
What are the Protected Classes in Texas?
Including federal protections, Texas protects workplace discrimination against:
- national origin
- sex (including childbirth, pregnancy, and related medical conditions)
- genetic information
- citizenship status
- age (40 and older)
- disability (physical or mental)
Noticeably missing under Texas state law are protections against discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. However, some local municipalities, like Austin, have enacted localized protections for these forms of discrimination.
These protections only extend to company employees, not independent contractors. Typically, the hybrid test is used to determine if a worker is an employee or an independent. The hybrid test considers whether the worker is economically dependent on the employer and whether the employer has the right to control how the worker performs their job.
Which Employers are Subject to these Protections?
Texas adheres to Federal Law, Title VII, stating that any company with 15 or more employees uphold the established protections for their employees. Those protections include:
- genetic information
Companies with 20 or more employees are subject to federal law prohibiting discrimination against age, specifically against those who are forty plus. Also, companies with four or more employees must comply with federal law protecting citizenship status discrimination. Finally, companies of any size must pay people equal pay for equal work, as established by the Equal Pay Act.
While Texas is an employment-at-will state, these federal and state statutes place limitations on this doctrine by preventing employers from basing employment decisions (hiring, firing, promoting, and paying) based on one of the previously stated protected classes.
Through the Texas Workforce Commission, Civil Rights Division employees may report complaints within 180 days of the incident via phone, fax, or in person. When employees report discrimination, it’s important to note the following aspects:
- date of the occurrence(s)
- details surrounding the offense
- the reason(s) for the complaint
- names of the parties involved (both directly and indirectly)
Once a complaint is filed, the Commission opens a formal investigation into the claim. Employees are encouraged to file additional documents to support their claim.
- physician statement (in the case of a disability discrimination claim)
- audio recordings
- text messages
Following a favorable determination of the Commission’s investigation, an employee may recover one of the following remedies:
- monetary relief
- equitable relief
- attorneys’ fees
A court may issue an injunction to an employer ordering the employer to end the discriminatory practice. Depending upon circumstances, a court may order an employer to hire or reinstate the discriminated employee. Additionally, employees who have faced unlawful discrimination are entitled to receive back pay. Back pay is determined by what the employee would have received if the discrimination hadn’t occurred by calculating from the day the discrimination began to the day of the verdict. However, back pay may not exceed two years prior to the claim filing date. Also, any workers’ compensation, unemployment benefits, and interim earnings are subtracted from the employee’s back pay.
Furthermore, if the discrimination was intentional, the employee may be eligible to receive damages for mental or emotional distress. If the employer took it a step further and acted with malice or reckless indifference in their discrimination, the employee may successfully seek punitive damages.
Seek Representation Immediately
Texans have the right to work in an environment free from discrimination. If this right has been violated, our disability discrimination lawyer Austin is here to help. Give us a call for a free consultation, and we’ll begin strategizing your best path forward.
Our clients receive individualized attention from an attorney, not an assistant or paralegal. Although we handle a wide range of legal issues, our attorneys are limited to practicing a few practice areas to give you the specialized care you need. We are compassionate attorneys that will listen closely to ensure your voice is heard and to implement potential strategies that most other attorney will miss. Call us for a free consult with our real estate attorney to see why we vastly differ than most law firms.
- seeking the relief you need
- evaluating and tailoring a creative strategy for your individual case
- explaining the nuances and subtleties of the law in a clear and concise manner
- effectively communicating with you in a way that will exceed your expectations
- and aggressively protecting and defending your rights
We understand times are tough and that there probably hasn’t been a tougher time in your life. Although we could get away with charging exuberant amounts, we prefer not to as we are a law firm by the people, for the people. We do not want you to worry about whether you can afford to hire a Disability Discrimination Lawyer Austin to protect and defend your rights. Call us for Foreclosure consult and be surprised at the quality you receive compared to what other Austin law firms will quote you!
Accordingly, the attorneys at AZ Law Firm will always provide you with a free initial consultation. During this initial consultation, our criminal lawyers will evaluate your case, inform you of any legal options that may be available, and allow you to ask any questions that you may have. AZ Law Firm offers affordable rates for all our clients and will work with you on payment plans. Our firm accepts checks, debit cards, and most major credit cards to cover the costs of your legal representation.