Texas employees who have suffered discrimination in the workplace may utilize two agencies to bring an employment discrimination lawsuit. These two agencies are the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Federal employment discrimination lawsuits include discrimination complaints based on retaliation, national origin, disability, gender, race, age, pregnancy, and religion. Texas has implemented the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act (TCHRA). In addition to the federal protections, the TCHRA also protects employees from discrimination based on genetic information.
The EEOC is a federal agency that enforces federal employment discrimination laws. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, are all administered by the EEOC. The TWC is a state agency that provides workforce services to Texas employers, job seekers, and employees. The TWC enforces the TCHRA.
Employees can file an employment discrimination claim with either agency because the state and federal laws overlap. Employees can note that they are “cross-filing,” instead of filing a claim with each agency. However, this intersection in the law results in the EEOC deferring many of their complaints to the TWC. Under state law, an individual must file their claim within 180 days of when the discrimination occurred. The charge must be filed within 300 days to protect any federal law claims.
The initial complaint process for both agencies is similar, but there are some slight differences. Both agencies send confirmation notices after they receive charges. The agencies will then determine whether the case is eligible for mediation. If mediation is agreed upon and appropriate, an EEOC-trained employee will facilitate this meeting. If the parties will not agree to mediation, or if the agency finds that it is inappropriate, the investigation will continue. The first steps in an investigation are often an employer position statement, a request for information, an on-site visit, and witness interviews. Finally, the agency may decide to file a lawsuit against the employer.
If the agencies decide not to file a lawsuit against the employer, they will issue either a “Dismissal and Notice of Rights” (EEOC), or a “Right to Sue” letter (TWC). A state law claim must be filed within 60 days of the letter or within two years of when the state charge was a fired–whichever date is earlier.
Have You Been Discriminated Against by a Texas Employer?
If you believe you have experienced employment discrimination, you should contact the experienced attorneys at Rob Wiley, P.C. Filing employment lawsuits involves navigating complex laws, government agencies, and strict timelines. The attorneys at Rob Wiley, P.C. have extensive experience handling all types of complicated employment discrimination lawsuits. Contact our office to schedule an initial consultation. We can be reached at 214-528-6500, or you can contact us online.