Saturday, March 13, 2021

Texas Human Rights Act Bars LGBT Discrimination

In Tarrant County College District v. Sims, (TX App., March 10, 2021), a Texas state appellate court, in a 2-1 decision, held that the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act (TCHRA) should be read to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. In the case, plaintiff, a community college employee, claimed that the college discriminated against her because she is a lesbian. The majority said in part:

In order to reconcile and conform the TCHRA with federal antidiscrimination and retaliation laws under Title VII, we conclude we must follow Bostock and read the TCHRA’s prohibition on discrimination “because of . . . sex” as prohibiting discrimination based on an individual’s status as a homosexual or transgender person. See Bostock, 140 S. Ct. at 1738–43; Chatha, 381 S.W.3d at 504–05.

The majority also refused to dismiss plaintiff's claims under the Texas constitution. 

Justice Schenck filed an opinion dissenting in part, contending that Bostock does not control the interpretation of the state anti-discrimination statute. Human Rights Campaign issued a press release on the decision.