Texas Harassment Law Creates More Obligations For Employers
By Robin Foret, Managing Member, Seltzer Chadwick Soefje & Ladik, PLLC
With so much media attention on “me too” sexual harassment claims, it may not be surprising that the Texas legislature passed legislation to give greater protections to employees. Effective September 1, 2021, Texas adopted legislation to expand sexual harassment protections for Texas employees. The law does not address other forms of discrimination nor does it apply to sexual harassment that occurred before September 1st, which are covered by federal and state laws in existence prior to September 1, 2021. S.B. No. 45 amends Chapter 21 of the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act (“TCHRA”) to include Texas Labor Code Section 21.141, et seq. (Subchapter C-1 – Sexual Harassment). The new law expands the definition of employer to include those with one or more employees. Prior to the amendments to Chapter 21, only employers with 15 or more employees were subject to laws against sexual harassment under federal law (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964), and Texas law (Texas Commission on Human Rights Act or TCHRA). The law extends coverage to employees such as domestic workers and housekeepers.