Adjustments on the Horizon: Significant Revisions to Texas Sexual Harassment Legislation | Jackson Walker

Helpful September 1, 2021, guidelines pertaining to sexual harassment in Texas will be significantly expanded and redefined. This report highlights Senate Monthly bill 45, which expands the definitions of an employer and sexual harassment and imposes a necessity on businesses to take speedy and ideal action when a sexual harassment assert is built Residence Monthly bill 21, which extends the deadline for filing a charge of sexual harassment and Senate Monthly bill 282, which bans settling sexual harassment statements with general public cash.

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SB 45: Expanded Protections to Compact Business enterprise Workers

At the moment, below point out and federal law, an staff can only provide a sexual harassment assert versus his or her employer if the employer has 15 or far more personnel. Efficient September 1, Area 21.141 will be included to the Texas Labor Code expanding legal responsibility to all businesses beneath Texas legislation, regardless of the quantity of persons used.

SB 45 defines an “employer” as “a individual who: (A) employs one or far more employees or (B) acts right in the interests of an employer in relation to an worker.” This improve will successfully allow for a charge of discrimination to be brought versus any business enterprise with an employee, no matter of size. This transform appreciably broadens existing legal responsibility for businesses and will mostly have an impact on smaller corporations.

In addition to expanding liability to all Texas companies, SB 45 also opens the doorway to individual liability. The enlargement of the definition of an employer to these who “act immediately in the passions of an employer in relation to an employee” indicates any human being decided to have acted in the curiosity of an employer—regardless of whether or not that individual is an agent of the company—could be held liable for sexual harassment. This might incorporate proprietors, directors, officers, managers, non-managerial personnel, and most likely even contractors or suppliers.

SB 45 also contains a need that companies acquire motion when a sexual harassment criticism is lodged. Where current law allows businesses a defense for “prompt, remedial action” taken adhering to a sexual harassment criticism, § 21.141 offers an “unlawful work practice” occurs if there is sexual harassment of an staff and “the employer or employer’s agents or supervisors: (1) know or ought to have recognised that the carry out constituting sexual harassment was happening and (2) are unsuccessful to acquire fast and proper corrective action.” The indicating of “immediate and ideal corrective action” is not described by SB 45, having said that, the language is extra stringent than the recent defense of “prompt, remedial action.” What defines “immediate and ideal corrective action” will definitely be very litigated by equally sides of the bar.

Finally, § 21.141 amends the Texas Labor Code to include a in depth definition of “sexual harassment.” This amendment in essence codifies present condition and federal scenario law definitions of sexual harassment. The amended language reads:

“Sexual harassment” indicates an unwelcome sexual advance, a request for a sexual favor, or any other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature if:

  1. submission to the progress, request, or carry out is manufactured a expression or problem of an individual’s work, possibly explicitly or implicitly
    1. submission to or rejection of the advance, request, or perform by an unique is utilized as the basis for a conclusion impacting the individual’s work
    2. the progress, ask for, or carry out has the intent or impact of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s perform functionality or
    3. the progress, ask for, or perform has the function or result of generating an overwhelming, hostile, or offensive doing the job setting.

HB 21: Prolonged Deadline for Filing a Sexual Harassment Demand

HB 21 amends Part 21.201(g) of the Texas Labor Code to maximize the demand filing period of time with the Texas Workforce Fee from 180 times to 300 times from the date of the alleged sexual harassment. Notably, the expanded time period of time only applies to statements of sexual harassment it does not implement to other forms of discrimination, namely discrimination based mostly on sexual intercourse (not constituting sexual harassment), race, color, incapacity, countrywide origin, or religion.

SB 282: Banned Settlements Applying Public Money

SB 282 bans a organization from settling sexual harassment claims with general public resources. Existing legislation contains no prohibition on the use of appropriated funds to pay out for sexual harassment statements by elected and/or appointed officials. SB 282 amends the Texas Authorities Code by introducing Part 576.001, which prohibits the Texas legislature from appropriating income and state businesses from working with appropriated funds to settle or otherwise spend a sexual harassment assert versus an elected or appointed member of the government, legislative, or judicial department of state federal government. For purposes of this legislation, school districts, open up-enrollment constitution universities, counties, municipalities, other specific districts, and other subdivisions of the point out are considered political subdivisions.


Texas has an estimated 2.8 million small firms which comprise 99.8% of Texas companies and which utilize 4.7 million workers. With SB 45 will come new, never-noticed-ahead of responsibilities for modest corporations in Texas. This new legislation will not only access more companies, most particularly lesser types, but the new definition implies each and every organization in the state of Texas – irrespective of measurement – have to have a clear being familiar with of these legal guidelines. It is crucial for all businesses, specifically lesser types, to have insurance policies and manuals in position which apply to sexual harassment, as very well as teaching for all employees on discrimination and sexual harassment.

On top of that, these drastic modifications happening to sexual harassment rules in Texas in September 2021 will no doubt guide to an avalanche of litigation, all over again, most primarily against more compact organizations. The choices of the courts on these new modifications should be monitored intently in purchase for businesses to understand an ever-transforming authorized atmosphere which may well improve on a day-to-working day basis.