Given Texas’ historically employer-friendly posture when it comes to workplace law, recent amendments to the Texas Labor Code that expanded protections to employees might be particularly surprising. Indeed, the changes that took effect Sept. 1 now expand the rights of those who assert claims of sexual harassment even beyond protections traditionally provided by federal law. And while the amended provisions provide several limitations that may not make this as sweeping of a change as some had hoped or feared, they still will require Texas employers—and those lawyers advising Texas employers—to make some immediate changes to policies and practices.

What Actually Changed?

The new provisions of the Texas Labor Code do three basic things:

  • Expand the definition of “employer.”
  • Change an employer’s duty to investigate and remedy claims of sexual harassment in the workplace.
  • Extend the deadline within which an employee must file a charge of discrimination alleging sexual harassment with the Texas Workforce Commission.