Sexual harassment at work in Texas What can I do?

International regulations define workplace sexual harassment as unwanted conduct of a sexual nature in the workplace that makes the person feel offended, humiliated and/or intimidated, which constitutes a violation of their fundamental rights and a problem of health and safety in the workplace.

What is sexual harassment?

The Texas Workforce Commission establishes sexual harassment as a form of employment discrimination. It can be any unwanted approach, requests for sexual favors, physical touching of a sexual nature, and other types of behavior that interfere with job performance or create a hostile or offensive environment, including any adverse employment action or blackmail for rejecting this type of behavior.

What to do?

First, you must inform the harasser directly that their conduct is unwanted and tell them to stop; you can use whatever complaint mechanism or system that your employer has made available.  

Next, if you believe you have been subjected to sexual harassment, you can file a complaint through the Texas Division of Civil Rights and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Changes to the Law in favor of workers

The Texas Labor Code and Section VII of the Civil Rights Law protect employees from employment discrimination based on sexual harassment, highlighting that as of September 1, 2021, this Law will protect the employees of all companies in the state, regardless of size. Before this date, it is only applicable to companies with more than 15 employees.

Additionally, the deadline for employees to file a charge of harassment with the Texas Workforce Commission is extended from 180 days to 300 days from the day of the alleged harassment. Also, anyone who acts directly in the interest of an employer in relation to an employee can now be sued in addition to the employer.

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