Race Discrimination Lawyers

Race Discrimination Lawyers

Race discrimination lawyers represent clients in Texas in racial discrimination claims in Texas employment. Race discrimination and ethnicity discrimination are both prohibited forms of employment discrimination under Title VII and Texas law. Race  discrimination relates to a person’s physical appearance, such as skin color. Ethnicity discrimination relates to a person’s ancestry or culture. Perpetrators of discrimination rarely see a difference between the two but the discrimination you experience in the workplace may be one or the other or both.

Race discrimination can come in various forms that relate to skin color, accents, speaking style, clothing, association, appearance, behavior or stereotypes unrelated to anything specific to you or your identity. Race discrimination and ethnic discrimination claims can be complex claims due to the laws prohibiting these forms of discrimination and the legal requirements to prove claims of discrimination. Working with a Texas employment discrimination attorney can be critical to defending your job and standing up for justice.

Laws prohibiting race discrimination at work

Texas employees enjoy protections from race discrimination at work under several federal, state and sometimes local laws.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits covered employers from discriminating against employees and applicants on the basis of race and ethnicity. Title VII applies to all government employers and private employers with at least fifteen employees. This statute is responsible for most federal race discrimination claims. It places enforcement of federal race discrimination claims under this statute in the hands of the EEOC. 

The earlier Civil Rights Act of 1866 also prohibits race discrimination in contracts which courts interpret to include employment. Under section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, an individual can sue an employer of any size for race discrimination in employment. These claims do not require filing a charge of discrimination with the EEOC.

Chapter 21 of the Texas Labor Code also prohibits race discrimination under state law. (Chapter 21 is often referred to as the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act or TCHRA.) The Texas Labor Code closely tracks Title VII so it applies, at least for race-based claims, to employers with at least fifteen employees. Chapter 21 empowers the Civil Rights Division of the Texas Workforce Commission to enforce the chapter’s anti-discrimination provisions.

In addition to federal and state laws, some Texas cities, like Dallas and Houston, have anti-discrimination municipal ordinances. 

Assessing the applicable laws, procedures, statute of limitations and strategies that apply to your claims is no easy task. Failing to follow administrative requirements and time limits can result in losing your right to pursue a claim entirely. Before taking any action on your case you should talk to a Texas employment lawyer about your situation. 

How race discrimination occurs in the Texas workplace

Race discrimination and ethnicity discrimination is prohibited in any part of the employment relationship, from hiring practices through termination of employment. Race discrimination is prohibited when it has a negative effect on obtaining or keeping a job as well as the terms and conditions of employment. Common ways discrimination can occur:

  • Job advertisements
  • Recruiting
  • Application processes and applicant screening
  • Interviews
  • Pre-employment inquires
  • Job referrals
  • Job assignments and promotions
  • Failure to train
  • Compensation (both pay and benefits)
  • Merit reviews, performance evaluation and raises
  • Disciplinary practices
  • Terminations, layoffs and reductions in force (RIF)
  • Harassment

Texas employees may experience race discrimination in less obvious ways. Certainly visible signs or racial slurs make race discrimination claims more obvious; however, it is not always that obvious. Employers may make job decisions based upon race without any outward signs. They may make decisions about you not even about your race. Discrimination may occur because you have family members or romantic partners of a certain race or because you have an association with something the employer identifies as belonging to a particular race. Race discrimination claims may even involve neutral policies that have a disparate impact on one or more races. If you believe you were treated less favorably at work due to race, then you should talk to a race discrimination lawyer right away.

Race discrimination in Texas employment

Racial discrimination and ethnic discrimination can occur at any time before or during employment. This form of discrimination may start during the hiring process or an employee may go years before ending up down the food chain from a racist supervisor. Discrimination can also occur through workplace harassment. Harassment occurs when the workplace becomes hostile through the acts of coworkers or management. Harassment can occur through words, pictures, emails, job assignments, threats and even physical contact. It becomes actionable as discrimination when it begins to negatively affect your job. It is always actionable when management is perpetrating the harassment. If it is your co-workers, it becomes actionable when management has a reasonable opportunity to stop the harassment but fails to do so.

Your employer may also retaliate against you for bringing claims of race discrimination to the attention of management, HR, or a government agency. This retaliation is unlawful and creates an independent claim against your employer. Your right to work free from racial discrimination includes the right to report unlawful discrimination and take steps to protect your rights.

Remedies for race discrimination in Texas

The law provides remedies to make a victim of race discrimination whole. These remedies can range from requiring the employer to hire, reinstate, or promote the employee or applicant. The employer may have to pay for economic losses, such as lost wages while you try to find a new job. The specific remedies pursued on a race discrimination claim depend upon the what negative effects you suffered. If the company was very hostile towards you then it may not make sense to ask the court to reinstate you to your job and instead ask for the company to pay your lost wages.

How race discrimination claims are handled in Texas

Race discrimination claims follow the same process as other employment discrimination claims, which is a complex process. Race discrimination claims begin with a charge filed with the federal (EEOC) and state (TWC) discrimination agencies. They will investigate your claims of discrimination. The charge must be filed within a limited period of time after the discrimination occurred to preserve your claims. Texas employment attorneys represents clients in EEOC and TWC proceedings.

During the investigation there may be mediation between you and your employer. If there is a finding of discrimination one of the government agencies may decide to file suit against your employer. In that case we will work jointly to represent your claims. If neither government agency decides it has enough information to find discrimination occurred then we will pursue litigation on our own. From there, the case may settle or go to trial. All employment discrimination claims are challenging claims for many reasons. The employer controls most of the information that might directly prove discrimination. Often, there is no direct evidence of discrimination. Therefore, the case must be proven by indirect or circumstantial evidence

Hire a race discrimination lawyer

You have the right to work free from discrimination on the basis of your race. Federal and Texas employment law prohibit employers from discriminating against you as a job applicant or employee. If you believe an employer discriminated against you due to your race, then  you should talk to a Texas race discrimination lawyer right away. Most race discrimination claims begin with a charge of discrimination with the EEOC and TWC which must be made in a short time period. The longer you wait to hire a race discrimination lawyer the greater the risk you may harm your case. 

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