What constitutes discrimination in a Texas workplace?

There are a number of ways that a Texas employer could discriminate against an employee. Both state and federal laws dictate practices that are not just unethical, but also illegal. For example, an employer may not discriminate against someone based on race or sex. In Texas in fiscal year 2016, the largest number of charges filed with the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission - 3,244 - were based on race.

Here, we take a look at what the laws are as well as what you should do if you felt like you have been the victim of workplace discrimination.

Types of discrimination

The Texas Workforce Commission outlines several factors upon which employers may not discriminate. Those include the following:

· Age

· Sex

· Race, color or national origin

· Disability

· Religion

Harassment and retaliation may also play a role in discrimination. For example, if a worker files a complaint regarding harassment, an employer may not discriminate against him or her based on that complaint.

Illegal behaviors

Discrimination could take place at various stages of employment. It occurs when someone is treated unfavorably based on any of the above-mentioned factors. A very basic example of this would be if an employer chooses not to hire someone based on his or her age or sex.

Yet discrimination extends beyond the hiring and firing process. For example, it is illegal to deny certain benefits or compensation to employees based on the factors outlined in state and federal laws. Also, consider two employees who are equally qualified to do a job. However, an employer pays one more money based solely on his or her race or religion. That would constitute discrimination.

It is also illegal to deny the use of certain facilities to employees based on these factors. Employers are not permitted to recruit potential employees based solely these traits, either.

Filing a complaint

When discrimination takes place, it is important to act quickly. In Texas, in order to file a complaint, there are certain items that must be true. For example, the workplace must be in the state, and the company must have 15 or more workers.

It is important to understand how to navigate this process in order to potentially secure damages. Anyone who has concerns about this topic should speak with an employment law attorney in Texas.