What Are the Discrimination Laws in Texas?

Any employee in Texas is protected by a host of federal and state discrimination statutes.  This article lists the various discrimination laws and in some cases provides a link to additional information about a particular statute.

For a list of the retaliation statutes, click here.

1. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

This is the primary federal discrimination statute.  It covers:

This statute is administered by the EEOC and applies to companies with 15 employees.

2. Pregancy Discrimination Act

Techincally, this is part of Title VII.  It covers pregnancy-related discrimination.  It is administered by the EEOC and applies to companies with 15 employees.

3. Age Discrimination in Employment Act

This is the federal age discrimination statute.  It is administered by the EEOC and applies to companies with 20 employees.

4. Americans with Disabilities Act

This is the federal disability discrimination statute.  It is administered by the EEOC and applies to companies with 15 employees.

5. Chapter 21 of the Texas Labor Code

This is the primary state discrimination statute.  It applies to the same categories as Title VII, the PDA, the ADEA, the ADA.  It is administered by the Texas Workforce Commission and applies to companies with 15 employees.  Note that Chapter 21 applies to age discrimination claims by companies with fewer than 20 employees (which is the minimum under the ADEA).

6. 42 U.S.C. § 1981: Race and National Origin Discrimination

Section 1981 is a federal statute applies to race and national origin claims.  It is not administered by the EEOC and does not require a minimum number of employees.

7. The Family and Medical Leave Act

The FMLA is a federal statute that prohibits discrimination against employees who take leave under the statute, and prohibits interference with the rights of an employee on FMLA leave.  It is administered by the Department of Labor, though it is not necessary to file a claim through the DoL.  It applies to companies with 50 employees within 75 miles of the workplace.

8. Employee Retirement Income Security Act

ERISA is a federal statute that prohibits discrimination against employees who have rights under an employee benefit plan governed by ERISA.  This issue comes up most commonly in connection with the termination of employees who are about to become vested in a pension plan.

9. Bankruptcy Reform Act

The BRA is a federal statute that prohibits discrimination against an employee who has filed for bankruptcy or who has failed to pay a debt that is discharged in bankruptcy.  The BRA also applies to an "individual associated with such debtor."

10. Employee Polygraph Protection Act

EPPA is a federal statute that places strict procedural requirements on the use of polygraphs and protects employees who refuse to take, or who fail, a polygraph exam.   It is administered by the Department of Labor, though it is not necessary to file a claim through the DoL.

11. Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act.

USERRA is a federal statute that prohibits discrimination based on an employee's past or present service in the military, the military reserve, or the national guard.   It is administered by the Department of Labor, though it is not necessary to file a claim through the DoL.

12. Rehabilitation Act

The Rehabilitation Act is a federal statute that prohibits discrimination of the basis of disability by government contractors.  It is administered by the Department of Labor.

13. The Equal Pay Act

The EPA is a federal statute that requires equal pay for men and women if the work is substantially equal.   It is administered by the Department of Labor, though it is not necessary to file a claim through the DoL.

14. The Immigration and Nationality Act

The Immigration and Nationality Act is a federal statute that prohibits immigration-related discrimination and in some cases national original discrimination.

15. 28 U.S.C. § 1875: Discrimination Against Federal Jurors

Section 1875 is a federal statute that prohibits discrimination against persons who are called to jury duty, or who serve as jurors, in federal court.

16. Consumer Credit Protection Act

The CCPA is a federal statute that prohibits an employer from discriminating against an employee whose wages are garnished.  The CCPA is enforced by the Department of Labor.

17. Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act

WARN is a federal statute that requires employers to give notice of plant closings and mass layoffs.

18. Protections for Workers Compensation Claimants

Chapter 451 of the Texas Labor Code prohibits discrimination against an employee who has made a workers compensation claim.

19. Protections for State Court Jurors

Chapter 122 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code prohibits discrimination against employees who serve on state court juries and guarantees the right of those employees to reemployment at the end of jury service.

20. Protections for Union Members

Discrimination against employees for union membership is prohibited by the federal National Labor Relations Act and by Chapter 101 of the Texas Labor Code.

21. Protections for Non-Union Members

Chapter 101 of the Texas Labor Code prohibits discrimination against non-union members.

22. Protections for Concerted Activity by Employees

Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act protects concerted activity by employees, regardless of union membership.

23. Compliance with Witness Subpoenas

Section 52.051 of the Texas Labor Code prohibits discrimination against employees who comply with subpoenas to appear as witnesses.

24. State Military Service

Section 431 of the Texas Government Code provides protections for members of the Texas military (such as the Texas National Guard) as USERRA.

25. Court-Ordered Child Support

Section 158.209 of the Texas Family Code prohibits discrimination against employees who are subject to court-ordered child support withholding.

26. Mental Retardation

Section 592.105 of the Texas Health and Safety Code prohibits discrimination against mentally retarded persons unless the employee's retardation significantly impairs the employee's ability to do the job, or unless the denial of employment is based on a bona fide occupational qualification.

27. Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act

GINA is a federal statute that prohibits discrimination based on genetic information, which can include family medical history.  GINA It is administered by the EEOC and applies to companies with 15 employees.

David C. Holmes is a Houston employment lawyer with The Law Offices of David C. Holmes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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