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Article courtesy of: Dorothea E.H. Laster, Attorney at Law

I. Impermissible Discrimination

Texas is an employment at will state. With few exceptions, an employee can be fired for a good reason, a bad reason or no reason at all, just not an impermissible discriminatory reason. Some (although not all) impermissible discriminatory reasons for taking an adverse employment action against an employee are the employee's:

  • Race (includes reverse discrimination and interracial marriage);
  • Age (forty or over);
  • Disability;
  • Gender (including pregnancy);
  • National Origin;
  • Color; and
  • Religion.

II. Strict Filing Deadlines May Apply

If you believe that you have been discriminated or retaliated against for an impermissible reason stated above, you must file a charge of discrimination within certain time frames, or your right to sue about those claims under state and federal civil rights statutes may be forever lost. How much time you have to file a charge of discrimination depends upon whether you will file suit in state or federal court.

III. Information About Filing Suit in State Court For Private Sector Employees

If you decided to file suit in state court, you should know that at the time this website was published, the law required that you file your employment discrimination or retaliation charge with the Texas Workforce Commission Civil Rights Division within 180 days from the last discriminatory or retaliatory act. See Section § 21.202 of the Texas Labor Code entitled STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS for the most current information about your deadlines.

***Note, much shorter deadlines apply to government employees***

A. The Texas Workforce Commission Civil Rights Division is located at:

6330 Hwy. 290 E, Suite 250
Austin, Texas 78723
Phone: 512-437-3450

  • To review the Texas Workforce Commission Civil Rights Division Act Fact Sheet regarding whether you may have a discrimination complaint click here.
  • To learn how to file a Texas Workforce Commission Act complaint click here.

IV. Information About Filing Suit in Federal Court For Private Sector Employees

If you decide to file suit in federal court under certain federal statutes including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the ?ADEA? Age Discrimination Act, and/or ?ADA? Americans with Disabilities Act, you have 300 days or less to file your employment discrimination or retaliation complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission from the last discriminatory or retaliatory act.

***Note, much shorter deadlines apply to government employees***

A. The Dallas District Office of the EEOC is located at:

207 S. Houston Street, 3rd Floor
Dallas, Texas 75202
Phone: 214-253-2700

  • For hours of operation and directions to the Dallas Office EEOC click here.
  • For information on time limitations and the filing of an EEOC Complaint with the Dallas District Office click here.

B. The Houston District Office of the EEOC is located at:

Mickey Leland Federal Building
1919 Smith Street, Suites 600 & 700
Houston, Texas 77002-8049
Phone: 713-209-3320

  • For hours of operation and directions to the Houston Office click here.
  • For information on time limitations and the filing of an EEOC Complaint with the Houston District Office click here.

V. Additional Time May Be Available For Race Claims Under 42 U.S.C. § 1981

Because of a recent U.S. Supreme Court case, if you assert a claim of race discrimination or retaliation you may have up to four years from the last discriminatory act to file your suit.

Based upon the experience of this office, it would be unwise to place all your eggs in one basket and allow your Texas Workforce Commission Civil Rights Division and federal EEOC filing deadlines to pass.

Federal and state law may require that you prove at trial that you gave your employer notice of the discrimination, and that your employer failed to take prompt remedial action. Meeting the Texas Workforce Commission Civil Rights Division and federal EEOC filing deadlines can be good evidence that the employer knew about your concerns.

It is important to note that Section 1981 does not extend the filing deadlines on age, gender, religion or disability claims.

VI. No Substitute For Legal Advice

Whether it may be best to file in state or federal court should be discussed with a qualified legal professional based upon your specific circumstances.

We are certain that the majority of persons who accept employment discrimination charges for state and federal government civil rights agencies perform their duties in an exemplary fashion. Unfortunately, however, we receive complaints that people have been discouraged from pursuing their claims further when filing their charges. For that reason we encourage you to seek advice from legal professionals with experience in litigating employment discrimination cases regarding the viability of your employment claims, and that you not rely upon clerks or administrative personnel for that assessment.

Many legal motions have been filed over the issue of whether the retaliation box was checked on an employee's charge of discrimination. Many legal fights have been waged over whether an employee's charge of discrimination checked the continuing action box. Similarly, legal fights have been had over the earliest date of discrimination identified in the employee's charge of discrimination. Although many employees are not represented by a lawyer when they file their charge, What you don't know can hurt you? If possible, consult with a lawyer who practices employment law prior to filing your charge. If that is not possible, read the charge document very carefully. Everything you have stated has been reduced to a one page document. If important information is missing, ask why or refuse to sign until it is included. If dates are wrong, have them corrected prior to signing. When you sign the charge, you do so under penalty of perjury.

I won custody of my son because my son needed me to!
  -- David A. - Dallas, TX

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