What Is the Process for Getting Compensation for Wrongful Treatment at Work?
Under federal and Texas state law, it’s illegal for employers to treat workers differently based on certain enumerated classifications, including:
- National origin
- Sexual orientation
- Gender identity
- Genetic information
In general, an employer may not discriminate in matters related to hiring and firing, recruitment, compensation, promotion, layoffs, benefits, job assignments, training and apprenticeship programs, retirement plans, and other terms and conditions of employment.
What Is the Process for Filing a Workplace Discrimination Claim in Texas?
Depending on the type of workplace discrimination claim you have, you may be able to file a lawsuit directly in civil court. However, with most such claims, you must exhaust all administrative remedies first. To do so, you must first file your claim with the appropriate government agency. In Texas, that’s either the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) or the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
If your claim of discrimination is based on violation of the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act (TCHRA), you must submit your initial claim to the TWC. If, however, you seek remedies under Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act, the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), or other federal law, you must take your initial complaint to the federal EEOC.
In many instances, you will have claims under both state and federal law. If that is the case, you can file with either agency—they have what’s known as a “work-sharing” agreement and will ultimately determine who will investigate your claim.
How Soon Must You File?
If you choose to file your discrimination complaint under Texas law, you must submit your claim to the TWC or the EEOC within 180 days of the date of the alleged discrimination. If, on the other hand, you seek remedies under federal law, you must file your discrimination claim within 300 days of the alleged wrongdoing.
You can find the necessary forms for a workplace discrimination claim under Texas law on the TWC website. You can either print a hard copy and mail it in or submit it by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. To file a claim with the federal EEOC, you must go in person to the EEOC office nearest to you.
What Happens After I File a Complaint with the Administrative Agency?
Once your discrimination complaint is filed, the appropriate agency will conduct an investigation to determine the merits of your claim. Initially, the agency may approve your case for mediation. However, for mediation to proceed, both parties must agree. If the agency does not believe that mediation is appropriate, or if one of the parties rejects mediation, the agency will continue its investigation:
- The agency may visit your workplace.
- The agency may interview witnesses.
- The agency may request a statement from your employer.
If the agency finds evidence of discrimination, all parties will be so notified in writing. The agency will then attempt to resolve the claim without litigation. However, if the dispute cannot be resolved through mediation, conciliation, or settlement, the administrative agency can file a lawsuit against the employer in court on behalf of the employee.
What Happens If the Administrative Agency Finds Insufficient Evidence of Discrimination?
If the TWC or EEOC concludes that there is insufficient evidence to support allegations of discrimination, it will dismiss the administrative complaint and issue a “Right to Sue” letter, which allows you to file a claim in state or federal civil court.
Contact the Proven Workplace Discrimination Attorneys at Bailey & Galyen
At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we offer a free initial consultation to every client. For an appointment with an aggressive and knowledgeable employment law attorney, contact us by email or call our offices at 844-402-2992. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.