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What is Title VII and how does it affect Texas employers?

State and federal laws grant workers in Texas, and elsewhere, certain protections. One such law is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Actual or perceived violations of this law could result in disputes between you and your employees.

Whether a private, state, government or education institutions, you are subject to Title VII compliance if you have 15 employees or more. A federal law, this portion of the act prohibits most workplace discrimination and harassment. Under Title VII, Texas employers are banned from doing the following:

  •        Refusing to hire people based on their national origin, religion, color, race or sex
  •        Discriminating against workers based on their compensation, conditions, privileges or terms of employment
  •        Classifying, limiting or segregating employees or employment applicants that would deprive them or limit their opportunities based on their sex, race, color, religion or national origin

Furthermore, you cannot retaliate against employees, including demoting them, taking away opportunities or firing them, because they filed a Title VII dispute.

Following a claim of a Title VII violation, your employee and you may be required to provide proof that the discrimination did or did not occur. First, your employee must identify and prove that a particular practice has caused a disparate impact based on discrimination. You will have the opportunity to challenge the evidence that he or she presents. If the claim is not unsubstantiated by your challenge, then you will have to prove that the practice is job-related and business necessary. This means that you have a compelling or significant need to maintain this practice, even though it has a disparate impact on your workers. If you prove business necessity, your employee may still win his or her claim if they are able to show that you declined to adopt an alternative practice that could accomplish the same objectives with less of an adverse impact.

This post has provided an overview of Title VII disputes. However, it is important to keep in mind that each case is unique. Therefore, this should be taken only as general information and not be considered as professional legal advice. 

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