Texas is known for its adherence to the principles of personal responsibility and individuality without overwhelming government intervention. While this is undoubtedly a positive and it is beneficial for people to feel the freedom to be who they are without fear of professional reprisal, the law can be challenging for employers who might face allegations of workplace wrongdoing. For lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, discrimination has long been a problem. Still, if employers are confronted with allegations that they have mistreated an employee and violated employment law, it is imperative to have legal assistance to combat the case.
Texas LGBT workers are protected from workplace discrimination
A recent decision by a Texas Court of Appeals falls in line with the U.S. Supreme Court decision that people cannot be discriminated against because of sexual orientation or gender identity. The case that spurred the decision was a former worker at a college who asserted that she was discriminated against when she revealed her sexual preference as gay to her supervisor. Under the Texas Commission for Human Rights Act, the law was put in place to handle any cases of alleged discrimination and retaliation at work and to fall under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The case had already been decided by the trial court before the SCOTUS decision.
In its ruling, SCOTUS said that workers could not be discriminated against because of LGBT status. This is true despite it not being specifically mentioned in the law itself. There had previously been confusion as to whether the law applied to LGBT issues and how they were treated on the job. The decision in the college employee case gave people in the state protection against such discriminatory behaviors. Going forward, employers are advised to have protections in place for LGBT workers to avoid complaints of wrongdoing and subsequent legal claims.
Employers should be aware of the law as it evolves
Employers might not be fully cognizant of how these laws may impact them in dealing with employees. When there are accusations of employment law violations of any kind, it can cause myriad problems for the employer. Not only do employers need to be up to date on how to defend against cases in which they are accused of workplace discrimination, but preventative measures can be useful to avoid them altogether. This includes having sufficient employee education and handbooks to lay the foundation for a law-abiding work environment. For help with these issues, having guidance from experienced professionals is a wise first step.