Starting Sept. 1, 2021, all Texas employers — no matter headcount — might want to act swiftly when sexual harassment is reported, and take efficient remedial measures to make sure that such harassment is corrected.
Two new office sexual harassment legal guidelines will take impact for Texas employers on Sept. 1, 2021. One extends the scope of events who could also be answerable for employment-related sexual harassment. The opposite extends the deadline for workers to convey sexual harassment claims.
Overview of the New Legal guidelines
Below Senate Bill 45, the Texas Legislature added Part 21.141 to the Labor Code, which defines an “employer” as an individual who both “employs a number of staff” or “acts immediately within the pursuits of an employer in relation to an worker.” In consequence, company managers and maybe even supervisors might have private legal responsibility even when they didn’t themselves interact within the sexually harassing conduct. The brand new definition additionally dramatically extends the statute’s sweep; beforehand, solely employers with 15 or extra staff had been topic to sexual harassment claims.
The newly added Part 21.141 additional states that an employer commits an “illegal employment apply” if “sexual harassment of an worker happens and the employer or employer’s brokers or supervisors: (1) know or ought to have recognized that the conduct constituting sexual harassment was occurring; and (2) fail to take instant and applicable corrective motion” (emphasis added).
The brand new legislation doesn’t make clear what “instant and applicable corrective motion” means. Nonetheless, that customary is similar customary relevant to coworker harassment below Title VII. It thus seems that the legal responsibility for sexual harassment claims below Texas legislation arising from alleged supervisor conduct might now be topic to a considerably extra employer-friendly customary. As all the time, it’s essential that an employer have the ability to exhibit that it took the criticism severely, carried out a immediate and diligent investigation, and took fast and applicable remedial motion.
House Bill 21 amended Part 21.201(g) of the Labor Code to broaden the statute of limitations for sexual harassment claims below state legislation from 180 days to 300 days from the date of the alleged sexual harassment. The extra time interval applies to sexual harassment claims solely and doesn’t have an effect on the 180-day requirement for submitting different state-law discrimination claims.
Conclusion and Concerns
All Texas companies ought to take time now to evaluation, or (if obligatory) implement, anti-harassment insurance policies and be sure that their insurance policies present a criticism process and a framework for promptly investigating reported sexual harassment and taking immediate and affordable corrective motion. Texas employers additionally ought to take into account offering extra sexual harassment coaching for administration and non-management staff.