The Texas Labor Code prohibits employment practices that discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, or age (TX Lab. Code Sec. 21.001 et seq.). The law covers all public employers and private employers with 15 or more employees. The law was created to conform state fair employment law with federal law in the area of employment discrimination, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Therefore, the requirements under these federal laws generally govern the provisions of the state law.
Disability discrimination. Under the ADA, an employer is prohibited from inquiring about an applicant's disability or about the extent of an applicant's disability until after the employer has extended a conditional offer of employment to the applicant.
Other preemployment inquiries. Although the Texas Labor Code does not specifically prohibit employers from inquiring about other protected characteristics, such inquiries can be viewed as evidence of discriminatory intent if a job applicant files a discrimination claim. According to the Texas Workforce Commission, an employer's request for such information will be closely scrutinized to make sure it was made for a lawful purpose, rather than for unlawful discrimination.
The Texas Health and Safety Code prohibits employers from requiring applicants to undergo testing for AIDS or HIV infection unless a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) can be shown (TX Health and Safety Code Sec. 81.101et seq.).
BFOQ exception. An employer may make an employment inquiry about a protected characteristic only if it is reasonably necessary to ...