Texas Disabilities (ADA) laws & HR compliance analysis

Texas Disabilities (ADA): What you need to know

The Texas Commission on Human Rights Act (TCHRA) prohibits employment practices that discriminate based on 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.
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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 required employees to provide evidence that they were replaced by, or treated less favorably than, an individual without disabilities. The court’s decision makes it more difficult for employers to obtain a case dismissal in the early stages of litigation.
Under the TCHRA, it is unlawful for an employer to retaliate or discriminate against a person who (1) opposes a discriminatory practice; (2) makes or files a charge; (3) files a complaint; or (4) testifies, assists, or participates in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing.
The state supreme court has held that an employee’s request for reasonable accommodation alone does not constitute protected activity under the TCHRA (Texas Dept. of Trans. v. Lara, No. 19-0658 (TX 2021)). The employee argued that he opposed a discriminatory practice by requesting an accommodation request. The court, however, noted that although an accommodation request may constitute protected activity in some circumstances, it “must alert the employer to an allegation of ...

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