Subscribe to receive our Floor Reports covering all the action on the Texas House and Senate floor!
Summary: HB 950 applies the federal Lilly Ledbetter Act to state law, changing the labor laws by allowing an individual who alleges unlawful workplace discrimination to file for repayment 180 days after the claimant discovers the alleged discrimination rather than 180 days after the discrimination occurred. This legislation also changes the statute of limitations by allowing the claimant to receive compensation for up to two years even if the individual is claiming outside of the two years when the discrimination occurred.
Analysis: HB 950 expands the scope of government and hinders the free-market system. It expands liability for employers by making it easier for people to file frivolous lawsuits alleging discrimination. These lawsuits are expensive to defend against and often have very little evidentiary basis. This law effectively repeals the statute of limitations in certain instances. One reason the statute of limitations is important is it protects against suits where defensive evidence is stale or expired. The easily foreseeable and unintended consequence of this legislation is employers will consider hiring women and minorities to be financially risky. Under Lilly Ledbetter if an equally qualified man and woman both apply for the same position, an employer might rationally consider the risk that a woman might bring suit in the future. In the short term this may allow women already in the workforce to file lawsuits long after alleged discrimination has taken place, but in the long run it will make employers less likely to hire equally qualified women.
Furthermore this law interferes with employee and employer contracts because a potential employee agrees to their pay scale and has the opportunity to negotiate the amount prior to starting a job if they believe the wage or salary is unfair.
Finally, we note that because the Lilly Ledbetter Act was signed into law by President Obama in 2009, there is no need to duplicate the law in state statute.
We encourage the Legislature to vote against HB 950.