Effective September 1, 2021, employers that employ “one or more employees” will be subject to heightened scrutiny for sexual harassment claims under Texas law. (Senate Bill 45). The definition of employer has been re-defined as someone that “acts directly in the interests of an employer in relation to an employee”. The current law shields employers with fewer than 15 employees.
Key points include;
· The definition of “employer” has been expanded to include someone that acts directly in the interest of the employer in relation to the employee.
· An employer would commit an unlawful employment practice if sexual harassment of an employee occurs and the employer or employer’s agents or supervisors know or should have known that the conduct constituting sexual harassment was occurring; and fail to take immediate and appropriate corrective action.
· House Bill 21, signed on June 9, 2021, extended the time to file a sexual harassment claim from 180 days to 300 days from the date of the alleged sexual harassment. The House Bill applies only to sexual harassment claims and does not affect the 180-day requirement for filing other discrimination claims.
The above changes may lead to an increased number of sexual harassment claims. In addition, the courts will need to define what corrective actions are regarded as “immediate and appropriate” when analyzing the standards in the sexual harassment context. For more information on sexual harassment prevention training and steps to take for compliance, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org