Texas Labor Code Chapter 21 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibit race discrimination in most Texas workplaces. Race discrimination occurs any time that an employer makes an adverse employment decision based on race, and it is absolutely illegal.
Assuming it has a minimum of 15 employees, your private employer cannot make adverse employment decisions when hiring, firing, promoting, paying, training, or providing other terms and conditions of employment. Employers cannot make these decisions based on their biases about the qualities or performance of people who belong to specific races. They also can’t make those decisions based on a job applicant or employee’s association or marriage to someone of a certain race, membership in ethnic or race-based organizations, or attendance in schools that are identified with certain races.
For example, if your manager decides not to promote you to a supervisory position because she has stereotypes about people of your race not being good leaders, this would be race discrimination. Similarly, if you are not hired for a job because a company’s leadership believes that people of your race aren’t creative enough to do a job, that is race discrimination.
Employers are not allowed to segregate workers by race or assign only minority races to specific regions or minority establishments. They also can’t code resumes to specify a job applicant’s race to leave them out of consideration for any position.
Title VII is one of several anti-discrimination laws enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Before bringing a federal lawsuit related to race discrimination, you must first file a charge with the EEOC. Similarly, if you decide you want to pursue a claim through the Texas Labor Code, you can file a complaint with the Texas Workforce Commission’s (TWC) Civil Rights Division. The TWC helps employees who believe they have been subject to race discrimination or other types of discrimination, or have suffered from retaliation for filing or participating in a discrimination complaint. The EEOC and the TWC cooperate to resolve allegations of race discrimination.
The purpose of filing a lawsuit is to obtain damages that put you in the same position in which you would have been had no race discrimination occurred, or close to that position. The remedies available depend on what the discriminatory action was and what effect it had on you. For example, if you were not promoted because you are Asian, the remedy might include being placed in the job you should have had or getting back pay and benefits that you would have received had you been promoted. You can also ask for an injunction that requires the employer to stop its discriminatory practices and take measures to prevent race discrimination in the future.
When there has been intentional discrimination based on your race, compensatory and punitive damages may be appropriate. For example, compensatory damages can provide reimbursement for out-of-pocket costs, such as the costs associated with a job search, and provide damages for emotional distress or loss of enjoyment. You may also be able to obtain attorneys’ fees and costs.
It can be important to obtain representation from an experienced employment lawyer when you have a dispute with your employer regarding discrimination or other matters. Contact us at (214) 528-6500 or via our online intake form.
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