In your workplace, it can be hard to understand your rights and know what discrimination is. A few misconceptions can add to this complexity, leaving employees unsure about what they can do if they experience discrimination.
Learn about some common misconceptions workers have about workplace discrimination and what Texas law says about it.
Misconception 1: Discrimination only involves race or gender
One widespread misconception about workplace discrimination is that it only involves race or gender. The truth is that Texas law protects against discrimination based on a broad range of factors. These include not only race and gender but also religion, age, disability and even pregnancy. If an employer treats you differently based on any of these factors, it could constitute discrimination.
Misconception 2: Employers can retaliate against employees who complain
Some people believe that if they report discrimination, their employers can retaliate against them. Texas law, however, strictly prohibits any form of retaliation against an employee who makes a discrimination complaint. This means your employer cannot fire, demote, harass or otherwise punish you for speaking up about discrimination.
Misconception 3: Discrimination must be intentional
Another misconception is that discrimination must be intentional to be illegal. In reality, Texas law recognizes that discrimination can also be the result of workplace policies that seem neutral but disproportionately impact certain groups of employees. Such policies could constitute what the law calls “disparate impact” discrimination.
Misconception 4: Small businesses are exempt from discrimination laws
Some people believe that small businesses are not subject to discrimination laws. This is not entirely true. While certain federal discrimination laws apply only to employers with a specific minimum number of employees, Texas law extends discrimination protections to employees of smaller businesses as well.
Understanding the facts about workplace discrimination can help you recognize when it happens and take steps to navigate and challenge it effectively.