State and federal laws make it a crime for employers to discriminate against people based on race, color, gender, national origin, religion, age, disability, or sexual orientation. If you believe that you have been discriminated against for any of these reasons in your workplace, our Houston discrimination attorneys can help.
Houston Discrimination Lawyer and Harassment Attorneys
Discrimination and harassment are illegal in the workplace, yet both still occur far too often. If you are the victim of discrimination or harassment at work, you have legal rights. You don’t have to endure hostile working conditions or risk losing your job.
The Houston discrimination lawyers of Feldman & Feldman can file a workplace discrimination lawsuit against your employer.
Discrimination in the Workplace
Experiencing discrimination can be traumatizing and stressful. It can make you feel as if your livelihood is at risk for reasons outside of your control. For this reason, we investigate discrimination cases to their full extent.
It can also often be difficult for employees and employers to understand how the law legally defines discrimination. The law states that discrimination occurs when someone that is a manager or a coworker treats an employee differently or less favorably than others based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, disability, age (age 40 or older), or genetic information.
Failing to hire, promote, or reward a deserving worker, otherwise known as discriminating against an employee, is illegal. It is also illegal to terminate an employee on these grounds, which is referred to as wrongful termination.
Identifying Discrimination in the Workplace
Discrimination can be hard to identify. Although in rare cases discrimination is overt, most of the time it is subtle. Discrimination in your place of employment may involve practices that subtly assign gendered roles and duties.
For example, highly qualified women may find they are frequently being relegated to administrative or secretarial duties male counterparts are not expected to perform. Employees with physical disabilities may be overloaded with work that is beyond their physical capabilities. Other employees may notice a pattern of being assigned certain tasks that may be viewed as degrading only because they are members of a protected class.
Discrimination may also take the form of a lack of diversity in the workplace. Other examples of workplace discrimination can include inappropriate questioning of employees or potential employees and/or offensive jokes, comments, or communications that target specific employees.
Harassment in the Workplace
Harassment is unwelcome or offensive conduct by another in your workplace that occurs based on your race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, disability, age (age 40 or older), or genetic information.
According to Texas employment law, as well as federal law, there are two types of workplace harassment:
- When acceptance of the offensive behavior becomes a condition of employment. For example, if someone in management threatens to terminate an employee if they report the harassment.
- The offensive behavior creates a hostile work environment due to its severity or the ongoing nature of the harassment.
Identifying Harassment in the Workplace
Harassment in the workplace that leads to a hostile workplace is prohibited by the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act. Harassment at work includes behaviors such as jokes, comments, physical contact, or actions against any protected class. This includes offensive jokes, slurs, name-calling, physical threats or assaults, intimidation, insults, interference with work, offensive images, mockery, and/or ridicule.
Often the harasser is an employee’s supervisor, but this is not always the case. Moreover, employees may be considered victims of harassment even if they are not the target of the harassment.
Harassment at work may be:
- Physical (unwanted touching)
- Verbal (demeaning, offensive, and unreasonable comments)
- Digital (cyberbullying)
- Psychological (exclusionary tactics and demeaning behaviors)
- Sexual (touching, comments, suggestions, texts, and pornographic images)
Recent Changes to Texas Sexual Harassment Law
In 2021 new laws were enacted in Texas, marking significant victories in the fight against sexual harassment in the workplace. SB 45 expanded the types of employers who must abide by the prohibitions against workplace sexual harassment. Before the passage of SB 45, employees of businesses with less than 15 employees had virtually no legal protection from sexual harassment. SB 45 made it illegal for all employers with at least one employee to engage in sexual harassment.
The second piece of legislation signed into law in Texas in 2021 gives victims of sexual harassment more time to file a claim against their employer. Before HB 21 was signed into law, victims of sexual harassment had only 180 days to file a claim. Now, employees who have been subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace have 300 days to file a claim.
Retaliation occurs when an employer takes adverse action against an employee because the employee exercised a right or engaged in a legally protected activity. As such, employment law in Texas prevents an employer from terminating an employee in retaliation for reporting harassment or discrimination or filing a lawsuit. Retaliation laws also protect employees who are not the victim, but who help coworkers with their claims.
Examples of retaliation in the workplace may include actions such as transferring an employee to a different department or location, changing the employee’s schedule, denying a raise or promotion, or a reduction in the employee’s salary or benefits.
The Houston employment attorneys of Feldman & Feldman fight for the rights of employees who have been unfairly discriminated against or harassed in the workplace. We also fight for those who have experienced retaliation after exercising their legal rights.
Feldman & Feldman also defends employers from meritless accusations in discrimination and/or harassment lawsuits. Employers need experienced and effective legal counsel when a claim is brought against them. We can also protect your business from future lawsuits through training and compliance reviews.
Get Help from the Houston Harassment and Discrimination Lawyers at Feldman & Feldman
Whether you’re an employee who has experienced discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, or you’re an employer who facing an employment lawsuit, Feldman & Feldman can help. Our Houston-based law firm has extensive experience successfully handling a wide range of workplace discrimination and harassment claims .
We understand your career or your business is your livelihood and we will fight to protect it. When you need an experienced Houston discrimination lawyer who will stand up for your rights, contact Feldman & Feldman.