UPDATE: Texas Sexual Harassment Law
Effective Wednesday, September 1st, Texas laws governing workplace sexual harassment have been significantly expanded to protect employees.
Two new laws include a number of changes for employers in Texas, related to sexual harassment claims. Most notably:
1) a longer statute of limitations. Previously, the timeframe within which an employee could file a claim was 180 days. Effective 09/01, that timeframe has been expanded to 300 days
2) previously a claim could only be filed against an employer with at least 15 employees. The new law expands to cover all employers with just one employee
3) risk of individual liability. After Sept 1st, supervisors, managers, HR professionals, other parties and third parties may be named individually as defendants in sexual harassment claims, and be held liable for damages
4)heightened standard for employer response. The new law provides that an employer commits an unlawful employment practice if sexual harassment of an employee occurs and the employer or it’s agents or supervisors a) knew or should have known that the harassment was occurring and b) failed to take immediate and appropriate corrective action.
Ensuring that employees understand and are well trained in workplace sexual harassment policies greatly reduces the chance of being liable for monetary damages in sexual harassment cases. Prevention is the best tool.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recommends the following to employers to reduce chances for liability for sexual harassment claims:
1) Implementing a strong & well understood sexual harassment policy
2) Providing a robust sexual harassment training program for training employees & supervisors
3) Establishing an effective complaint & grievance process, within which employees do not have to fear retaliation
4) Employers should act immediately to investigate any complaint or grievance
5) Employers should take immediate steps, such as disciplinary action to stop harassment
6) Employees should be encouraged to confront the harasser directly & inform them that the conduct is inappropriate as well as informing management and HR.
Camella HR Solutions can review your current policies to ensure compliance with these new laws & suggest training options to mitigate liability risk.
Contact us: Barbara B. Cohen, Principal
Camella HR Solutions