Nextep's 2021 Annual Report is here! See what we accomplished together this year.

Texas Employers: Take Note of New Law on Sexual Harassment Claims

Two people meeting in office

Beginning September 1, 2021, sexual harassment laws in Texas will change. Here’s what your company needs to know.

In Texas, new regulations on sexual harassment claims mean that employers of all sizes may be liable for sexual harassment claims brought on by their employees. Now’s the time for employers to review workplace policies that not only keep employees safe but comply with the current law. 

There are several changes from the previous legislation under Chapter 21 of the Texas Labor Code. The most notable changes will expand which employers are liable and the statute of limitations for filing a claim. 

Which employers are liable?

All employers. Previously, employers needed to have at least 15 employees to be covered by the law. Now, any employer with at least one employee can be held liable for sexual harassment. 

Individual liability

Before, employees could only sue their employing company for sexual harassment. The new legislation includes liability for anyone who “acts directly in the interests of an employer in relation to an employee,” such as managers or supervisors.  

Standards for an employer’s response

The current law requires “prompt, remedial action” after a sexual harassment complaint. Now, unlawful employment practice occurs when a supervisor(s) knew or should have known that an employee was sexually harassed and failed to take “immediate and appropriate corrective action.” 

This is a subtle shift in responsibility that makes leadership more directly responsible to act on any harassment they know of; not just the cases that have been reported.

Longer statute of limitations

Employees can make sexual harassment claims up to 300 days from the date of the alleged sexual harassment. Previously, employees had 180 days to bring claims. 

Defining sexual harassment 

The Texas Labor Code added a detailed definition of sexual harassment. It is now defined as an unwelcome sexual advance, a request for a sexual favor, or any other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature if:

  • It’s a condition of employment, either explicitly or implicitly;
  • It is used in a decision about the person’s employment;
  • It unreasonably interferes with a person’s work performance; or
  • It creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.

Your business is a better place to work when employees know where to go with concerns and leaders are prepared to take action. Contact your Nextep HR Business Partner if you have any questions or concerns about this update, we are here to help!

Read more about steps company leaders can take for a safer workplace. 

Read more

Also on Nextep

It’s important to know about upcoming changes to tax laws for businesses. Prepare your company’s budget with this cheat sheet! 2022 Tax Update Breakdown Social Security wage base First $147,00 of wages in 2022 FICA – Social Security (OASDI) 6.2%, up to the wage base FICA – Medicare 1.45% up to $200,000, then 2.35% (The […]
Read more
Along with the new year comes new minimum wages for several states on January 1, 2022, that employers should be aware of. As a reminder, when state law differs from federal law, employers must use the wage that benefits the employee the most. In this case, the state minimum wages are higher than the $7.25 […]
Read more
In today’s competitive job market, it’s more important than ever to prioritize becoming a great place to work. Today’s workforce is searching for employers that value purpose, flexibility, and inclusivity. If you’re looking to recruit and retain top talent but don’t know where to start, here are three ways you can become an employer of […]
Read more
“[Switching to] Nextep was a no-brainer. The costs are better and the amount of personalized attention and follow-up we received right off the bat was really impressive. With Nextep, we’re not just a number. Nextep is so responsive to our questions and our needs. We didn’t have that in the past with our previous provider.” — Yaicha, […]
Read more
When you need HR support, you want to talk to a real person who is happy to help you, not submit a ticket to a dead-end help inbox or get stuck in a robo-receptionist call loop. Unlike our competitors, when you call Nextep, you’ll talk to a real person every time. Our clients are not just a […]
Read more
Does your company have what it takes to create a remote work policy and manage employees no matter where they’re working? The ability to work remotely full-time or at least in a hybrid capacity will be an expectation from most employees moving forward. Let’s take a look at what a post-pandemic workforce looks like and […]
Read more
The History of Juneteenth Last week (June 17, 2021), President Biden signed legislation that declares Juneteenth a federal holiday, going forward. Let’s explore what that means for you and your company. Juneteenth occurs each year on June 19. It honors the day in 1865 when American forces declared that enslaved people in Texas were to […]
Read more
Storm season is here! Businesses need plans in place, not only for taking shelter during inclement weather but also for running business as usual. We’re sharing a few procedures and precautions to consider when storm season rolls around.  Shelter Your employees should know how to respond when emergencies happen during the workday. Learn more from […]
Read more
In a crisis, life can seem a little scary. It’s easy to lose sight of the good in the midst of trying times. However, taking care of your mental health is never more important than when you face a crisis. Mental health includes emotional, psychological, and social well-being. According to mentalhealth.gov, your mental state can […]
Read more
The physical and mental well-being of your employees is essential. At Nextep, we’re doing what we can to ensure our employees are healthy and stay that way. Keeping up with your employees’ well-being can be challenging, so here are a few ways employers are promoting workplace wellness today. CREATING A CULTURE OF MENTAL WELLBEING Employees […]
Read more
If your employer participates in the federal government’s Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) program, you should know more about what that means.  The WOTC is a federal tax credit available to businesses that hire people from certain groups facing challenges gaining employment. This program incentivizes employers to promote job access to a diverse range of […]
Read more
Voluntary paid leave for employees and accompanying tax credits for employers, originally made available under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), have been extended through September 30, 2021, by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). If you haven’t already, you need to decide whether or not your organization will continue offering paid COVID-related leave […]
Read more

Download Our App