Employment Discrimination

Employment Discrimination Lawyers Serving Central Texas

Employment discrimination happens every day across Texas. Employment discrimination happens when a worker is treated differently than co-workers. Employment discrimination can happen because of a worker’s age, disability, national origin, gender, race, religion, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, or genetic information. The Austin employment discrimination lawyers at Wiley Walsh, P.C. have represented numerous workers in employment discrimination claims in state and federal court, before administrative agencies, and through internal grievance proceedings. The attorneys at Wiley Walsh, P.C. can help determine whether you have claim and the best way to pursue it.

State, Federal, and Local Laws Prohibit Employment Discrimination and Retaliation

There are laws at every level of state and federal government that prohibit employment discrimination. At the state level, the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act, or the TCHRA, prohibits most forms of employment discrimination. Also called “Chapter 21” because of its location in the Texas Labor Code, this statute makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee based on a protected characteristic. The law does not just prohibit termination, but also makes it illegal to discriminate in hiring decisions, compensation decisions, promotions, demotions, transfers, and in any other manner that affects the terms, conditions, or privileges of employment.

On the federal level, there are a plethora of laws prohibiting employment discrimination. These laws include:

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”),
  • 42 U.S.C. § 1981 (“Section 1981”)
  • the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”),
  • the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”),
  • the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (“PDA”)
  • the Equal Pay Act (“EPA”)
  • the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act

At the local level, cities and counties often have ordinances that also prohibit employment discrimination. In many cases these ordinances may provide greater or more explicit protection than federal or state employment discrimination statutes. For example, local ordinances in San Antonio and Austin expressly prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Furthermore, the City of Austin’s Fair Chance Hiring Ordinance prohibits an employer from asking about an individual’s criminal history prior to making that individual a conditional job offer.

All of these laws also generally prohibit retaliation against employees who complain of employment discrimination. Additionally, employees who oppose discrimination of co-workers or assist those co-workers in asserting discrimination complaints are usually protected by the same retaliation provisions if adverse action is taken against them.

Exhausting Administrative Remedies

Unlike contract disputes or personal injury cases, a worker who believes they have been discriminated against may not usually file a lawsuit in court immediately. Instead, state and federal laws generally require an employee to file a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Texas Workforce Commission, or other Fair Employment Practices Agency.

After filing a charge of discrimination, these agencies will investigate the claim of employment discrimination. Because the charge of discrimination may limit the scope of the investigation and any subsequent legal action that occurs, it is important to consult with an experienced employment attorney to ensure all necessary information is included in the initial charge of discrimination.

Consult an Austin Employment Attorney if You Suspect Employment Discrimination

Most employment discrimination laws have short statutes of limitation that require a worker to file a charge within 180 or 300 days of the discriminatory act. Federal employees and some laws have even shorter time frames to file charges or complaints with the proper agency. Therefore, it is important to speak with an experienced employment discrimination attorney as soon as you suspect you have been discriminated or retaliated against. Wiley Walsh, P.C. represents workers who are seeking an employment attorney in cities such as Austin, Georgetown, Round Rock, Cedar Park, Pflugerville, Leander, Del Valle, Kyle, San Marcos, San Antonio, New Braunfels, and Fredericksburg. Call us at (512) 271-5527 or via our online form for an appointment.

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