The state of Texas defines employment discrimination as any unfair treatment on the basis of race, color, disability, religion, sex, national origin, age or pregnancy. Such treatment could include refusing to hire a particular individual or giving an existing employee disadvantages because of any of the above factors.
If you believe you have suffered employment discrimination, you may be able to file an official complaint. In order to be eligible for file a complaint, your situation must meet the following requirements:
- You work at a company that is physically located in Texas.
- The company you work for has at least 15 employees.
- The date of the discriminatory incident occurred no more than 180 days before the date you submit the complaint.
- Your complaint specifically relates to at least one of the above-noted factors that define employment discrimination.
- Your complaint must demonstrate some disadvantageous consequence you suffered (e.g., being demoted, being fired or being denied a promotion).
Filing a Complaint
If you meet the above criteria, you can complete the Employment Discrimination Complaint Form and submit it to either the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). (It is not necessary to file your complaint twice; rather, you can indicate that you want to cross-file the claim when you submit it to one of these agencies.)
After you submit your claim, the EEOC will begin the investigation process. This process involves considerable research as well as interviews with relevant witnesses. The duration of investigations varies by case, but be prepared for it to take as long as six months. When the investigation is final, the results will be sent to you and your employer. Generally, investigation results in one of the following outcomes:
- The EEOC decides that discrimination did not occur: You will receive a Notice of Right to Sue, which enables you (or your attorney) to pursue an individual lawsuit in Texas court.
- The EEOC decides that discrimination occurred:
- The EEOC will attempt to reach a settlement with the employer.
- If no settlement is reached, the EEOC will decide whether the agency will file a lawsuit against the employer. If they decide against a lawsuit, you will receive a Notice of Right to Sue and can then pursue the same legal action noted above.
Note: You are not allowed to file a lawsuit individually until first going through the above process and waiting 180 days for the EEOC investigation to be completed.