Texas: more workplace discrimination complaints than any other state

Last year the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) received more complaints of workplace discrimination in Texas than from any other state in the U.S. 10% of all the discrimination complaints in the U.S. were filed in Texas during the 2011 fiscal year: nearly 10,000 out of 99,947 federal charges of workplace discrimination.

The most popular complaints in Texas were “retaliatory charges.” Retaliatory charges are ones in which the employer fired, demoted, or otherwise retaliated against an employee because he or she fought against discrimination in various ways, including going to the EEOC.

The second and third most popular discrimination complaints in Texas were based on race and gender. After that, discrimination based on national origin and religion were most common.

Although Texas has a very large population – more than 25 million people – which skews the results a bit, the Texas state agency that is responsible for protecting workers does very little. California has a larger population than Texas, but Texas still beats California for number of discrimination complaints because California has a better state-level agency for protecting workers.

Texas also has a large number of workers who are more vulnerable to discrimination. There is a high number of immigrants, people who don’t speak English, and minimum age workers in Texas.

The EEOC announced earlier this month that it will be updating policies about criminal background checks. Work discrimination against prospective employees based on a criminal background has been ample, especially in certain minority groups – African-American and Hispanic men.

“The ability of African-Americans and Hispanics to gain employment after prison is one of the paramount civil justice issues of our time,” says EEOC member Stuart Ishimaru.

According to the Associated Press, the EEOC’s updating of its policies is in response to the increase of online search engines and companies that offer inexpensive background checks. Almost 75% of companies now perform background checks on job applicants.

According to Justice Department statistics, African-American and Hispanic men have much higher rates of incarceration than whites, so the increase and ease of getting background checks before hiring someone is detrimental to their employment.

In April this year, the EEOC increased its enforcement policies of Title VII. Title VII protects employees from sexual discrimination. The EEOC now includes protection of transgender people in this section.

According to the EEOC, “In its unprecedented decision, the EEOC concluded that ‘intentional discrimination against a transgender individual because that person is transgender is, by definition, discrimination ‘based on … sex’ and such discrimination … violates Title VII.”