Effective September 1, 2021, Texas is boosting safeguards against sexual harassment in the workplace.
The law applies to employers with one or more employees, which is a significant change from the prior law (applied to employers with 15 or more employees). Texas employers may violate the new law if they knew or should have known of the sexual harassment of an employee and failed to take immediate and approriate action to address it.
Sexual harasssment is defined as an unwelcome sexual advance, request for a sexual favor, or any other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature if:
- Submissions to the conduct is made a term of condition of an individual’s employment, either explicitly or implicitly;
- Submission to or rejection of the conduct by an individual is used as the basis for a decision affecting the individual’s employment;
- The conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance; or
- The conduct has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.
Important Note: The expanded employer definition includes supervisors and coworkers to be equally guilty parties should a harassment claim be filed in court. Due to this expansion, everyone (e.g., company, supervisor, or coworker) would be brought to trial as separate defendants.
Employers Next Steps
- HR Knowledge has a highly successful Sexual Harassment Prevention Training program that we can deliver live via webinar and/or a cloud-based Learning Management System; if you are interesed in having your employees trained in any of the states you are in please, contact us.
- If you are a Full-Service or Virtual HR client and would like our assistance with updating your policy, please email us.
- If you have further questions regarding this e-Alert, please email us.
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This content is provided with the understanding that HR Knowledge is not rendering legal advice. While every effort is made to provide current information, the law changes regularly and laws may vary depending on the state or municipality. The material is made available for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal advice or your professional judgment. You should review applicable laws in your jurisdiction and consult experienced counsel for legal advice. If you have any questions regarding this content, please contact HR Knowledge at 508.339.1300 or email us.