On July 6, 2021, we released a blog post on Texas’ new sexual harassment laws, which became effective September 1, 2021. These laws expand liability for sexual harassment to companies with at least one employee and to individual supervisors and coworkers. Our July 6 post discusses the details of the new laws; now that they are effective, we provide some practical steps below companies should consider to ensure compliance.

  • Review your employment handbook or policies. Texas employers will be expected to have policies in place that ensure the following:
    • Employees know who to complain to if they are experiencing sexual harassment;
    • Complaints of sexual harassment are immediately and appropriately investigated;
    • Corrective action is taken immediately and appropriately; and
    • The corrective action is sufficient to stop the harassment and prevent it from reoccurring.
  • Consider implementing anti-harassment training for employees at all levels.
    • Explain to employees, especially supervisors and managers, the importance of compliance now that anyone acting directly in an employer’s interest in relation to an employee can be held individually liable for a sexual harassment claim.
  • Prepare for the extended statute of limitations for a sexual harassment claim.
    • Employees now have 300 days – instead of 180 – from the date of the alleged sexual harassment to file a charge with the Texas Workforce Commission.

If you have any questions about these new laws, or would like any guidance, assistance or advice regarding your organization’s anti-harassment or other equal employment opportunity policies, practices or procedures, please contact a Reed Smith attorney.