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What Constitutes Workplace Retaliation in Texas?

You might know that workplace retaliation is illegal in Texas, but many people, including employers, are not sure of what constitutes retaliation under the law.

In fact, there are multiple state and federal laws that protect employees from retaliation in the workplace. These laws apply to all local and state governmental employers and private companies with 15 or more employees:

  • Chapter 21 of the Texas Labor Code
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act 

There are specific requirements for proving workplace retaliation. If you believe your employer has retaliated against you, then speak to an experienced employment law attorney before filing a claim.

Essentially, there are three parts to a successful retaliation complaint. The complaint must show:

  • That the employee engaged in an activity protected under the law
  • The employer took an adverse action against the employee
  • And there is a causal link between the employee's protected activity and the employer's adverse action

What is considered a protected activity?

When an employee files a discrimination complaint or otherwise opposes discrimination in the workplace, these actions are protected activities under the law. Employees are also legally protected from retaliation when they help with or otherwise participate in an investigation of workplace discrimination.

In Texas, a discrimination complaint may be based on race, color, religion, national origin, disability, sex or age.

What is considered an employer adverse action?

If your employer has tried to prevent you from taking part in a protected activity, then your employer has retaliated -- or taken an adverse action -- against you. Retaliation can take a number of forms:

  • Refusal to hire
  • Reduction in hours, including overtime
  • Schedule changes
  • Reduction in pay
  • Denial of promotion
  • Demotion
  • Unjustified negative evaluations
  • Unjustified references
  • Increased surveillance of employment
  • Threats
  • Termination of employment

Proving workplace retaliation is generally not a simple matter, even when the employee is only doing what is right. To learn more about protecting the rights of employees who speak out against employers, please see The Galo Law Firm's employment retaliation overview.

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