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Proposed Texas bill would prevent LGBT discrimination

There are employment regulations in place in Texas regarding discrimination, which protect businesses as well as employees. It's against the law in this state to discriminate against an employee based on his or her sex, race, religion, color, disability, and national origin. Employers who violate any of these rules face an employment discrimination lawsuit; likewise, if a terminated employee attempts to wrongfully get back at a former employer by filing a false discrimination claim, the former employee can suffer the consequences.

Texas lawmakers are considering a bill that will make discrimination illegal for gender identity or sexual orientation. Laws like this are already in place in many areas around the country. Employers can take steps to protect themselves from lawsuits by avoiding discrimination, and by being clear about the reasons for disciplinary action should it become necessary.

In order to avoid possible employment litigation, it would be a good practice for employers only to discipline or terminate employees based on their job performance and not solely on their sexual preference or identity. Every employer already knows the legal ramifications of discriminating against sex, religion, and other factors that are protected by law. Even before a law barring LGBT discrimination is passed, an employer may face certain legal recriminations by employees trying to protect their civil rights.

Unfortunately, even when an employer does his or her best to engage in fair employment practices, an employee may still misinterpret actions or discipline, or attempt to get even. Consulting with a corporate attorney in these cases may help to protect the company.

Source: CityTownInfo.com, "Texas Legislators Review Anti-Discrimination Bill for LGBT Workers," Aneesha Jhingan, April 4, 2013

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