Harassment Protection: Age, Sex, Race, Religion And Disability
Harassment in the workplace is a form of employment discrimination that violates provisions in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) as well as provisions in the Texas Labor Code.
Texas employment laws regarding workplace harassment are different than federal standards but harassment is a serious workplace offense by any measure. Workplace harassment is very complicated area of Texas and Federal law which requires the expertise of an experienced harassment lawyer.
All workplace discrimination and harassment claims are monitored by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In Texas, harassment claims may also be filed with the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) who works in concert with the EEOC to investigate and enforce legitimate harassment actions.
Harassment statues are clear that unwelcome workplace conduct based on age, sex, race, religion or disability is prohibited and the employer has the responsibility to prohibit and address such conduct.
However, it should be understood that petty slights, minor annoyances and isolated incidents do not constitute legal harassment unless they are extremely serious. In most cases, the threshold for unlawful conduct must create a work environment that would be intimidating, hostile or offensive to reasonable persons.
The harassment MUST be related to age, sex, race, religion, national origin or disability to be actionable.
General harassment, personality conflicts or harassment that is not based on one of the listed categories is not against the law.
What is Offensive Conduct?
At the core of harassment claims against employers and any ensuing lawsuits is unwelcome conduct that is deemed offensive. This can include:
- Offensive jokes
- Name calling
- Physical assault
- Interference with work performance
Acts of workplace harassment can be caused by a supervisor, an agent of the employer, co-worker or non-employees. This offensive conduct occurs all too often in Texas employment relationships. It should also be understood that unlawful harassment does not have to involve termination, discharge or economic injury to violate Texas and/or federal law.
Victims are entitled to expect a safe, hospitable workplace where they can perform their job without harassment. The Fort Worth law firm of Hutchison & Stoy, PLLC. (817-820-0100) is dedicated to protecting employees from federal and state violations of discrimination and harassment. Contact us today to speak with a local harassment lawyer.
About Employer Liability in Texas Harassment Claims
If harassment activities by supervisors result in a negative employment action, termination, suspension, wage reduction, failure to promote or hire and loss of wages, the employer is liable. Any action by a supervisor that contributes to a hostile work environment is the responsibility of the employer.
Employers have anti-harassment defense mechanisms such as:
- Proving reasonable efforts to prevent and promptly correct harassment activities.
- Demonstrating that the employee failed to take advantage of preventive and/or corrective measures implemented by management.
But, the employer can be held responsible for harassment by non-supervisory employees and even non-employees, including independent contractors and/or customers, if it can be proved that the employer knew about the harassment activities and failed to intervene to correct the activities.
Investigation procedures for harassment claims by EEOC include:
- An overview of the employer’s historical record
- The nature of the conduct
- The context of the alleged incident
Every harassment claim must stand on its own two feet. In most instances, the victim should report harassment activities to the employer via written notice. If the employer fails to correct the situation, it is time to contact a lawyer. Filing Harassment Claims in Texas
Filing Harassment Claims in Texas
Harassment claims must initially be filed with the EEOC or TWC. In most instances, it is to the victim’s advantage to retain legal counsel that is experienced in all types of harassment claims as well as with Texas and federal employment law. In Fort Worth, the firm of Hutchison & Stoy, PLLC, has proven expertise in these areas. Call Hutchison & Stoy, PLLC at 817-820-0100 to speak to a harassment lawyer and learn more about the firm and arrange a confidential review of your workplace harassment case.
Contact a Fort Worth Harassment Lawyer
Employer discrimination and employer harassment are not only hurtful and job threatening, but they are against the law. Your case can succeed if it is a rightful claim and if it is presented properly by a harassment lawyer who understands how these cases must be litigated. Do the right thing. Help end employer discrimination and employer harassment in Texas. Contact Hutchison & Stoy, PLLC today at 817-820-0100!