Employment Discrimination

Kalandra Wheeler
Texas Employment Lawyer Kalandra Wheeler

“I was told that my braids were unprofessional.”

“I was told to cut off my locs.”

“I was told that my hair doesn’t fit the ‘company culture.’”

Ladies and gentlemen, race-based hair discrimination is still alive and well in 2021, and Black employees are being told

Colin Walsh
Texas Employer Lawyer Colin Walsh

On December 18, 2020, I published a blog all about 42 U.S.C. § 1981 (“§ 1981” or “Section 1981”) claims.  I’m sure you remember it.  It was pretty great, if I do say so myself.  

But just in case, very briefly, § 1981 prohibits race discrimination

Under the Equal Pay Act, an employer must pay both men and women equally if they perform equal work.  That raises the question of what equal work means.  The statute itself helps with this question a little bit.  The text of the statute states that work is considered equal if the performance of both jobs

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Discrimination is real.  Denying systemic racism, doesn’t make it nonexistent.  In 2020, we’ve seen a resurgence of people actively fighting against race discrimination in large numbers.  Police violence against Black Americans reignited a fuse.  Protestors have taken their voices to the streets, have launched social media campaigns, and have organized to fight injustice where it thrives with hopes of real change.  

Racial injustices can permeate every aspect of a person’s life.  It can be four Black, young adults being pulled over by the police when they’ve done nothing wrong, only to have an officer say, “where are you coming from” and “can I search your vehicle.”  It may be realizing you are being followed in a department store.  It may be someone saying, “yeah, I have a problem with that Black teacher.” It can even be seen in the hiring, firing, and promotional practices of employers. 


Continue Reading To Witness or Not to Witness.

Let’s say you have been discriminated against based on your race, but either work for a company with less than 15 employees or are an independent contractor.  You know that neither Title VII nor the Texas Labor Code applies to you.  Is there any other protection?  YES! The answer is 42 U.S.C. §1981.

Let’s say you are an employee of a company with 15 or more people, but that you didn’t hire a lawyer until well after the 300-day statute of limitations for Title VII to assert your race discrimination claim.  Do you have any hope? YES! The answer is 42 U.S.C. §1981.

So, what is 42 U.S.C. § 1981?

42 U.S.C. § 1981 prohibits race discrimination and retaliation in the making and enforcing of contracts. It is meant to provide “broad and sweeping” protection against all race discrimination.  Faraca v. Clements, 506 F.2d 956, 959 (5th Cir. 1975). According to the Supreme Court, the Civil Rights Act of 1866, from which § 1981 is derived, “was designed to prohibit all racial discrimination . . . with respect to the rights enumerated therein.”  Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Co., 392 U.S. 409, 422-36 (1968).


Continue Reading Section 1981 prohibits race discrimination and retaliation in contracts, including race-based interference in contracts.