If you are the victim of workplace discrimination in Texas, you may be wondering which agencies can bring an employment discrimination lawsuit on your behalf. The two agencies are the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
The TWC handles claims by state workers, employers, and job seekers and adheres to the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act (TCHRA), which protects state employees from discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, pregnancy, disability, and even genetic information. On the other hand, the EEOC handles federal employment discrimination claims and enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and other federal laws.
Since both federal and state laws sometimes overlap, employees may be eligible to file an employment discrimination claim with either agency by establishing that they are “cross-filing,” rather than filing a claim with each agency. Keep in mind, the EEOC will typically defer such complaints to the TWC.
According to Texas law, you must file an employment discrimination claim within 180 days of the incident in question. When it comes to federal discrimination claims, it must be filed within 300 days.
After both agencies receive the complaints, they will send confirmation notices and figure out if the case is approved for mediation. An EEOC-trained employee will handle mediation if the parties agree to it.
However, if the parties don’t agree or if an agency doesn’t approve mediation, the investigation will progress. An investigation consists of obtaining a statement from the employer, requesting any information related to the incident, a worksite visit, and interviews from witnesses before determining whether to sue the employer.
If the agencies disapprove of the claim, the TWC will issue a “Right to Sue” letter or the EEOC will issue a “Dismissal and Notice of Rights” letter.
If you experienced workplace discrimination in Houston, contact Shellist Lazarz Slobin LLP today at (713) 352-3433 for a confidential consultation. We can guide you through the complexities of the claims process to ensure your voice is properly heard.