In Texas, and throughout the country, employees are protected from unlawful workplace discrimination on the basis of a number of factors, including but not limited to age, race, color, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and more. If an employee has suffered workplace discrimination, they are entitled to sue and recover damages for losses related to such conduct. Workplace discrimination claims require that claimants follow strict procedure and pursue such actions with certain qualified organizations — specifically, the Civil Rights Division of the Texas Workforce Commission (TWCCRD) and the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Filing With the TWCCRD or EEOC
The TWCCRD and EEOC have significant overlap, and as such, the two agencies cooperate a great deal when handling a discrimination claim — the cooperation between the two agencies is referred to as a work-sharing agreement. You may choose to file your discrimination claim with either agency (and cross-file with the other).
The deadline for filing your discrimination claim under Texas state law is six months from the date of the discriminatory action at-issue (i.e., wrongful termination). The deadline for filing your discrimination claim under federal law is ten months from the date of the discriminatory action at-issue.
Right to Sue
Once a charge is filed with either the TWCCRD and/or the EEOC, the agency will investigate the discrimination claim to the extent possible (i.e., by interviewing witnesses, gathering documentation and other evidence, etc.) and will determine whether there was, in fact, discrimination.
If the agency determines that there was discrimination, then the employer will be asked to settle and a process of negotiation will begin. Settlement is voluntary, however. If the employer chooses not to settle, then the agency may choose to file a lawsuit against the employer, or they will provide you a notice of the right to sue.
If the agency determines that there was no discrimination, then the agency will provide you a notice of the right to sue. You will then have 60 days to file a lawsuit pursuant to Texas state law or 90 days to file a lawsuit pursuant to federal law.
If you are an employer who has had an EEOC complaint filed against you, or an employee interested in filing an EEOC complaint, it’s important to work with qualified Houston employment lawyers who are familiar with navigating the EEOC complaint, investigation, and mediation processes, and in doing so in a manner that preserves your various claims in the event that a lawsuit is necessary.
Contact Our Houston Employment Lawyers Today for Assistance
At Berg Plummer Johnson & Raval, LLP, our Houston employment lawyers boast decades of combined experience litigating a variety of employment law issues, including those involving the EEOC and their processes. Discrimination claims can be exceedingly challenging from both sides. For employers, the reputation of the company and valuable resources (that could be invested elsewhere) are at stake. For employees, the humiliation of discrimination and the desire for justice must be balanced against the difficulties of litigation.
We recognize that every client is different, and has unique needs and objectives. As such, we offer client-tailored fee arrangements that are suitable for a range of budgets. Call us at (713) 526-0200 or contact us online to schedule a consultation