Texas Disabilities (ADA) laws & HR compliance analysis

Texas Disabilities (ADA): What you need to know

The Texas Labor Code prohibits employment practices that discriminate on the basis of disability (TX Labor Code Sec. 21.001et seq.). The law covers employers with 15 or more employees for 20 or more weeks on each working day in the current or preceding calendar year.
Amendments to the law in 2009 broadened the definition of disability and added other provisions, making the state law very similar to the amended federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
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Termination. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that, to establish a prima facie discrimination claim under the ADA, a plaintiff must prove that he or she (1) has a disability; (2) was qualified for the job; and (3) was subject to an adverse employment decision on account of his or her disability (EEOC v. LHC Grp., Inc., 773 F.3d 688 (5th Cir. 2014)). Before this decision, many federal courts in the 5th Circuit allowed employers to obtain a case dismissal by providing evidence of the terminated employee’s replacement or of consistent treatment of similarly situated employees. However, that evidence will no longer defeat a plaintiff’s claim, making it more difficult for employers to obtain a case dismissal in the early stages of litigation.
The term disability means:
• A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities,
• A record of such an impairment, or
• Being regarded as having such an impairment.
An individual is regarded as having such an impairment if he or she has been subjected to an unlawful employment action because of an actual or perceived impairment, whether or not the impairment limits or is perceived to limit a major life activity. The law excludes an impairment that is minor ...

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