Experiencing discrimination or retaliation at work can be devastating. Despite the fact that these practices have been illegal for over 50 years, employers continue to discriminate illegally and retaliate against employees in the Dallas and Fort Worth area in hiring, pay, promotions, terminations, and more. In addition, workers can face illegal retaliation when they assert their protected legal rights, such as filing an employment discrimination complaint against their employer, file a a workers' compensation claim, sue their FMLA leave, among others. Fortunately, federal and Texas laws protect workers from unlawful discrimination based on certain protected characteristics and from being retaliated against by their employer for engaging in legally protected activity.
When you are the victim of employment discrimination, the financial toll can be enormous, espceically if you are terminated. In addition, you could suffer depression, anxiety, insomnia, and other forms of mental anguish caused by the frustration and helplessness of the situation. Walt Taylor, the experienced employment attorney at the Hart Law Firm, is here to investigate your claim of discrimination and to fight to obtain the compensation you deserve.
Types of Illegal Employment Discrimination
It is illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, other federal laws, and Texas law to discriminate against employees based on a number of personal characteristics. These include the following:
- Age, if a person is 40 or older
- Race or color
- Sex and gender
- Sexual harassment
- National origin
- Mental or physical disability
- Genetic information
Employers engage in discrimination in many ways throughout the employment process. Some examples of illegal discrimination include:
- Stating or implying that there are preferred characteristics in job applicants.
- Excluding certain applicants in the hiring process.
- Failing to hire a more qualified applicant based on his age, sex, disability, or other protected characteristic.
- Denying certain employees compensation or benefits given to others not in the protected class.
- Paying equally qualified workers in the same position less.
- Demoting an employee.
- Denying a worker a promotion.
- Transferring a person to an unfavorable position.
- Firing a worker.
- Harassing a worker or applicant through unwelcome verbal or physical behaviors.
Two Forms of Discriminatory Practices by Employers: Disparate Treatment and Disparate Impact
There are two forms of discrimination under employment discrimination laws: disparate treatment and disparate impact. They are two distinct types of discrimination and what is required to prove the illegal actions will be very different depending on which form of discrimination an employee was subjected to. Here is how these two claims differ:
- Disparate treatment. Disparate treatment means an employee was treated differently from other similarly situated employees because of his or her protected class, such as age, race, gender or religion etc. This is an intentional form of discrimination by the employer and could involve a decision on hiring, compensation, promotion, termination, and other aspects of the job.
- Disparate impact. A disparate impact claim involves a practice, policy or rule of an employer that may appear to be neutral on its face, but which has a disparate impact on a protected class of individuals. For example, a policy to disregard years of service may have a significantly adverse impact on workers 40 and over; or having a lifting requirement for a job that does not require one may exclude certain people with disabilities; or testing applicants in a way that statistically tends to exclude certain protected classes of people (for reason that are not job related) may also give rise to a disparate impact claim.
Protections Against Retaliation Under Federal and Texas Laws
Unfortunately, employees can also face retaliation for speaking out about illegal practices of their employer, or for otherwise asserting certain rights under the law that are legally protected from retaliation. Both federal and Texas law identify specific actions by employees that -by law- are protected from retaliation.
Unfairly terminating an employee, denying a worker overtime pay, demotions and creating a hostile work environment are a few of the ways that employers in the Dallas and Fort Worth area illegally retaliate aginst employees. Forutnately, employees are protected from retaliation when taking the following actions:
- Making an employment discrimination complaint, including filing a lawsuit or complaint with a Texas or federal administrative agency, or with HR.
- Participating in an employment discrimination complaint of a co-worker.
- Filing a workers’ compensation claim (except for employees of cities, coutnies, school districts or other small government entities).
- Refusing to follow an unlawful order (if the employee could have been criminally prosectued for following it) for private employers only.
- Reporting a violation of law by a nursing home.
- Being a whistleblower (a public employee who reports a governmental agency's viiolations of law to an appropriate law enforcement agency).
- Making a report to the Texas Workforce Commission's Safety Hotline.
- Engaging in free speech, free association or political activity protected by the First Amendement (for public employees).
- Participating in a nurse peer review or reporting a nurse to the Texas Board of Nurse Examiners.
- Reporting a doctor to the Texas Medical Board.
- Attempting to organize a union.
- Reporting a nursing home's violations of law.
- Using time a worker is entitiled to under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
Let Our Experienced Employment Attorney Fight For You
Are you the victim of employment discrimination? Did your employer retaliate against you for asserting your legal rights? You may be entitled to compensation for your lost wages, benefits, mental anguish and attorney fees. However, you need to act quickly to avoid missing any deadline for filing your claim.
Our experienced employment attorney, Walt Taylor, is here to build your case of discrimination or retaliation against your employer and fight aggressively for the justice you deserve. Contact us online or call our office directly at 817.380.4888 to schedule a free consultation.
We help workers throughout Texas including Arlington, North Richland, Grapevine, Bedford, Hurst, Eules, Irving, Dallas and all points between.