Federal and state law prohibits employers from considering race, sex, age, and religion when screening job applicants. Additionally, employers cannot retaliate against individual employees who challenge discriminatory behavior.
Identifying and properly addressing workplace discrimination is often difficult due to common myths about the law.
1. Discrimination does not happen at reputable companies
Unfair and inappropriate treatment of employees can happen anywhere. Employers who value the safety and comfort of workers implement and encourage policies and training to prevent misconduct. Because people are not perfect and conflict does occur, internal processes should investigate complaints and address bad behavior.
2. If the discriminatory act was unintentional, it does not count
Sometimes, managers may implement discriminatory practices without realizing that their actions marginalize a group of people. A few common forms of unintentional discrimination include:
- Imposing a weight or height requirement, which can exclude gender and ethnic populations
- Requiring internal referrals for positions, which limits opportunities for minorities
- Using standardized tests as screening tools, which puts non-native speakers at a disadvantage
3. Disabled or religious employees must request “reasonable accommodations”
Federal and Texas law requires employers with 15 or greater employees to provide reasonable accommodations for workers with disabilities or sincerely held beliefs. This entitlement belongs to employees regardless of whether they make a formal request. Once management is aware of an employee who may need an accommodation, it is their duty to offer assistance and verify that is it effective.
Understanding the truth about employment law in Texas can help you recognize instances of workplace discrimination and give you the confidence to stand up for your rights.