Who Is Liable in a Sexual Discrimination Case?
Workers in the United States are provided certain protections by state and federal employment laws. Among these protections is a workplace free of discrimination based on race, sex, age, national origin, religion, and disability.
Despite employment laws, a surprising number of employees face sexual discrimination. Sexual orientation discrimination is a common concern since state laws regarding this form of discrimination are unclear. When these situations arise, employees should understand who is liable for sexual discrimination cases so they can take appropriate legal action. Lawyer Dan A. Atkerson works with sexual discrimination victims from Allen, TX, Plano, TX, and Frisco, TX, to hold liable parties accountable.
Protections From Sexual Discrimination
Protections from workplace sexual discrimination are provided by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The original law prohibits discrimination based on several factors, including sex. In 2020, a Supreme Court Ruling in the case of Bostock v. Clayton County expanded protections under Title VII to include employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or transgender status.
On the state level, Texas employment law prohibits discrimination based on sex, but it does not explicitly extend to sexual orientation or gender identity.
Employment anti-discrimination laws apply to job applicants, current employees, and former employees. Anti-discrimination laws prohibit employers from making employment decisions based on sex, including decisions regarding hiring, firing, promotion, and rates of pay. Sexual harassment also falls under the definition of sexual discrimination and is prohibited.
Employer Liability for Sexual Discrimination in the Workplace
Federal employment law limits liability for sexual discrimination and harassment to employers. Under federal law, employees who are victims of sexual discrimination have the right to file a claim against their employer with the Texas Workforce Commission and the civil court.
Employees can file a claim if their employer makes employment decisions based on the employee’s sex. Employees can also file a claim if their employer fails to take immediate and appropriate action against another employee whose sexual discrimination or harassment is known or should have been known by the employer.
Personal Liability for Sexual Discrimination in the Workplace
Texas employment law now allows for personal liability in sexual discrimination cases involving sexual harassment. A sexual harassment law that went into effect in September 2021 extends sexual harassment liability to any “person that acts directly in the interest of the employer in relation to the employee.” Although it is not further defined, it is reasonable to interpret that this law allows an employee to file a civil claim against managers, supervisors, or co-workers who fail to address sexual harassment.
Damages in Sexual Discrimination Claims
Damages in a sexual discrimination claim are dependent on the circumstances of the case. Potential areas of compensation include:
- Back pay
- Front pay
- Job search costs
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Punitive damages
Get In Touch
If you have experienced sexual discrimination in the workplace, attorney Dan A. Atkerson can determine the amount of compensation you may be due and who should be held liable. To discuss the details of your case, send us a message online or call (214) 383-3606 and request a legal consultation.