If you’re facing racial discrimination in Texas, you’re not alone. Texas led the nation last year in charges of racial discrimination in the workplace, as well as for all workplace discrimination charges.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently posted a summary of all the discrimination charges it received through 2018, and Texas was the nation’s greatest offender with 7,482 charges. Of those charges, 2,254 were claims of racial discrimination.
Know your rights
Texas employees have rights under both state and federal law. Your employer cannot hire or withhold pay or promotions based on your race. Employers must also keep your workplace from becoming hostile. This means they cannot allow bullying or other serious claims of harassment, such as:
- Abusive or hostile language
- Ridicule or mockery
- Threats of physical violence
- Use of physical violence
These are just some of the possible types of harassment, but the government doesn’t consider any workplace behaviors harassment until they cross a line—becoming “severe or pervasive” enough that “a reasonable person” would find the workplace hostile. Because this definition is subjective, you will want to document as much evidence as you can to support your case.
Filing with the EEOC may not be enough
If your employer doesn’t resolve the problem, you can file your complaint with the EEOC. But the reality is that filing with the EEOC takes a great deal of time, and the EEOC may not be fully equipped to deal with workplace discrimination. Vox recently published an article that showed the EEOC and its partners only help employees win money or a change in their work environment roughly 18% of the time.
You may want to file a private discrimination suit against your employer, but to do that, you need to file your complaint with the government first. Then you need to wait for the EEOC or Texas Workforce Commission to complete its investigation. Since that can take a long time, it may be in your best interest to start collecting evidence and to file a complaint as soon as the harassment becomes a serious issue.
It’s not clear that Texas workplaces are about to change, but it’s clear that they need to. And it’s clear that the state needs workers like you to stand up for their rights.