84(R) - 2015
House Business & Industry
House Business & Industry
Business, Industry, & Commerce
Relating to unlawful employment practices regarding discrimination in payment of compensation.
This bill would amend the Labor Code relating to the statute of limitations applicable to unlawful
employment practices. Based on information provided by the Texas Workforce Commission, it is
assumed that duties and responsibilities associated with implementing the provisions of the bill
could be accomplished by utilizing existing resources.
Creates a violation of the Labor Code every time a discriminatory compensation decision or practice is adopted, person is adversely affected by or subject to such decision/practice. Persons affected may obtain relief if they file the complaint within the earlier of 180 days after the complainant discovered the alleged unlawful employment practice or the fifth anniversary of the date of the alleged offense. With respect to a
complaint based on the payment of wages, an unlawful employment
practice does not occur each time wages affected wholly or partly by
the practice are paid. This only concerns violations committed after the passage of this bill.
Currently the statute of limitations on unlawful employment practices under this chapter is 180 days.
Vote Recommendation Notes
HB 187 would expend the scope of government intervention and would hinder the free market system by making it easier for employees to file lawsuits claiming compensation discrimination. The bill would eliminate the statute of limitations by allowing employees to file a claim years after the alleged discrimination decision occurred. It would expose businesses to expensive and potentially non-serious lawsuits years after compensation decisions were made, significantly increasing uncertainty in the hiring process. A statute of limitations prevents difficult defense when evidence is difficult to come up with when outdated, or expired. House Bill 187 would require companies to consider additional steps to document every compensation decision, adding costs and time, and a burdensome hiring and promotion process, particularly for small businesses.
Such legislation would have negative consequences on the very persons it tries to help: when faced with the choice of hiring a minority or non-minority applicant, an employer will legitimately consider the risk of facing a discrimination lawsuit in the future. The higher the risk is, the least inclined the employer will be to take it.
This legislation is also interfering with the right of employers and employees to voluntarily contract at an agreed-upon pay compensation level, giving the opportunity to one party to the contract, the employee, to reconsider the terms of the contract agreed upon months or years before.
Additionally, there is no need to duplicate the federal Lilly Ledbetter Act, signed by President Obama on January 29, 2009, at the state level.
We oppose HB 187.