Texas is part of the Employer Lawyer Network we have established to serve workers throughout the United States. Our lawyers are well-versed in the specific laws of each state, as well as the federal rules and regulations that hold precedence.
All of the attorneys in our network have established themselves in the practice of employment law in their jurisdictions. Our savvy Texas lawyers have worked extensively in this field and have the experience, skills, know-how, and resources to pursue the best possible outcome for your Texas employment law issue.
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Texas Employment Discrimination and Harassment
Harassment and/or Discrimination in the Texas workplace is prohibited on the federal and state level. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act is one of the main federal laws addressing these issues. Texas adopts these federal protections in Chapter 21 of the state’s Labor Code. The protected classes follow.
- Sex / Pregnancy / Childbirth
- National origin
- Citizenship status
- Marital status
- Wage garnishment
- Emergency Evacuation
- Veteran status
- Genetic information – i.e. AIDS/HIV or sickle cell trait
Companies with at least 15 employees may not discriminate in their hiring or firing practices, pay, compensation, training, advancement opportunities, or terms and conditions of employment. Workplace discrimination and harassment is a complex are of law, subject to specific restrictions and legal constraints. If you believe you are being treated unfairly and unlawfully by a supervisor, co-worker, contractor, or another work-related party due to your race, sex, religion, or other protected class, speak with a Workplace Discrimination attorney who knows Texas employment laws for guidance.
Wage and Overtime Violations
Federal and state law addresses wages, overtime, and other work hour issues for many employees across the U.S. If a state enacts their own laws, they must operate in compliance with the federal regulations. These laws are meant to protect workers from unfair practices by their employers. However, you only have a limited length of time to bring a claim for unpaid wages and overtime violations.
Minimum Wage in TX
Texas adopts the federal minimum wage rate. Most Texas employees are eligible to receive this hourly rate. Tipped employers are an exception in this state. Therefore, employers of tipped employers may pay their workers less than minimum wage. However, the tips these workers receive must compensate for the difference between their lower pay rate and the current minimum wage. Texas recognizes workers who received at least $20 per month in tips as tipped employees. This differs from the federal standard, where the minimum is $30 per month.
The Fair Labor Standards Act is the federal law governing overtime throughout the U.S. All states must comply with the FLSA, though some states have enacted their own laws, as well, that provide additional protections.
Texas chooses to just stick to the federal guidelines for the most part. This means that eligible hourly employees must receive overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours in a single week. The rate must be no less than 1.5 times the employee’s hourly rate. Some employers may try to avoid paying this rate by giving the employee “comp time” instead, to make up for the overtime hours. For example, if you work 45 hours in one work week, your employer is required to pay you 40 hours at your regular wage plus 5 hours at time and a half. What he can’t do is offer you 5 hours off the following week in place of your overtime pay.
Workers who perform the following duties are exempt from overtime pay laws in Texas:
- Computer work
- Outside sales
Very specific rules and conditions apply to determine whether a worker is truly exempt under the law. In many cases, an employer may knowingly or unknowingly classify an employee as exempt, resulting in unpaid overtime wages that the worker should have been receiving.
If you’re a non-exempt employee who’s been unlawfully deprived of your overtime pay, you may file a claim with the Texas Workforce Commission – but the claim will only cover the 180-day timeframe before your filing. An overtime wage lawsuit may be brought for a prior 2-year timeframe. If the violation was willful, you can file for a the 3-year period before your lawsuit.
Texas Payday Law
This state law requires employers to pay their non-exempt workers no less than twice a month. Exempt workers must be paid at least once a month. Additionally, if you are terminated or laid off, your employer must remit your final pay within six calendar days of your date of separation from work. If you leave your job voluntarily, you must wait for your next regularly scheduled payday to receive your final paycheck.
There are numerous other laws, rules, and regulations governing employee pay, hours worked, commissions, bonuses, and much more. If you believe that your employer has treated you unlawfully, a skilled Texas Wage and Overtime Lawyer can help you determine how best to proceed.
Like nearly all states in the union, Texas operates under the “at-will” doctrine of employment. If there is no employment contract, the employee-employer relationship may be terminated by either party for any lawful reason. Instances of unlawful workplace discrimination are prohibited. Unlike many other states, Texas does not protect private employees from termination in the case of retaliatory action for the reporting of illegal activity. Though, Texas government employees do enjoy this protection.
If you do have an employment contract, a breach of this agreement may provide you with a legal claim for wrongful dismissal. Wrongful discharge claims in Texas can be complicated. It’s best to consult with an employment attorney who’s knowledgeable of the state’s wrongful termination laws to find out whether your claim is valid.
Texas Whistleblower Law
The federal government supports the elimination of waste, fraud, unsafe practices and unlawful behavior that’s meant to enrich public employers to the detriment of the government. To that end, the government has enacted whistleblower laws to encourage workers to report this behavior when they see it happening. By offering protection from retaliatory action, employees should feel free to report any legal and/or financial behavior that appears to be unethical or illegal without fear of retribution.
In Texas, state laws extend these protection to public employees. Government employers may not terminate, suspend or take other adverse employment-related action against a worker in retaliation for reporting legal violations by the employer or other workers.
If you are a public employee who’s been subjected to any of these actions after blowing the whistle on your employer, you need to report this activity to law enforcement within 90 days. There is a grievance process you can pursue. If this proves fruitless, civil action may be possible. A Texas Whistleblower lawyer can help you pursue back pay, reinstatement, seniority rights, fringe benefits, and/or other compensatory damages.
Other Texas Employment Law Protections
There are numerous other areas of employment that are subject to federal and state law in Texas. Some examples of these laws and regulations include the following:
- Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- State Military Service
- Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)
- Equal Pay Act
- Bankruptcy Reform Act
- Protections for Non-Union Members
- Rehabilitation Act
- Employee Polygraph Protection Act
- Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act
- The Immigration and Nationality Act
- Consumer Credit Protection Act
- Discrimination Against Federal Jurors / Protections for State Court Jurors
- Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act
A Texas Employment Lawyer can help you determine whether your rights have been violated under any of these laws.
Help for your Texas Employment Issue
Our network of employment lawyers works exclusively for employees. You spend a large part of your waking life on the job, working to support you and your family. You do your part. Employers should do there’s. When this doesn’t happen, the law is on your side. So are we. If you are subjected to harassment, discrimination, unlawful pay, or any other illegal employment practices, the law supports your ability to right these wrongs. Give us a call to discuss your case.