On August 31, 2012, in Prairie View A&M University v. Chatha, the Texas Supreme Court held that the federal Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (“Ledbetter Act”) — that amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to provide a pay-discrimination claim for each paycheck — does not apply to a Texas state law pay-discrimination claim. Refusing to “make law” in the absence of determinative legislative intent on this issue, the Chatha court urged the Texas Legislature to amend the Texas Labor Code to adopt provisions from the Ledbetter Act.
On February 5, 2013, heeding the Chatha court’s urging, the Texas Legislature proposed a new bill — attached here — that would amend the Texas Labor Code to permit an individual to bring an unlawful employment practice pay-discrimination claim each time:
A discriminatory compensation decision or other practice is adopted;
An individual becomes subject to a discriminatory compensation decision or other practice; or
An individual is adversely affected by application of a discriminatory compensation decision or other practice, including each time wages, benefits, or other compensation affected wholly or partly by such a decision or other practice is paid.
If passed, the new bill would also limit an employer’s liability for recovery of back pay to two years prior to the filing of a complaint, so long as the unlawful employment practice that is subject to the charge is similar or related to any unlawful employment practice during the prior two years.
We will update you on this proposed legislation.