‘Loophole’ in state sexual harassment policy could be closed with bill

Zaffirini's Senate Bill 1140 would no longer protect companies with less than 15 employees

A bill making its rounds through the state Capitol in Austin could eliminate a loophole that some say unfairly protects employers from sexual harassment lawsuits.

“Victims of workplace sexual harassment in Texas, particularly those who work for small employers, face very significant obstacles to justice,” Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Austin, said in an email. “For example, the Texas Labor Code does not specifically name ‘sexual harassment’ among its ‘unlawful employment practices,’ except with respect to unpaid interns. What’s more, the code applies only to employers with 15 or more employees. It is absurd that someone should be able to engage in sexual harassment with impunity simply because the number of employees he or she supervises is 14 or fewer.”

Karen Wyatt was working in San Marcos and said she had grown accustomed to sexual harassment by her employer, to the point that she “attributed it to little-man syndrome.”

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San Marcos resident pushes for sexual harassment legislation to close ‘loophole’

Zaffirini's Senate Bill 1140 would no longer protect companies with less than 15 employees

A bill making its rounds through the state Capitol in Austin could eliminate a loophole that some say unfairly protects employers from sexual harassment lawsuits, and a San Marcos woman has been the driving force behind the bill, representatives from Sen. Judith Zaffirini’s office said.

“Victims of workplace sexual harassment in Texas, particularly those who work for small employers, face very significant obstacles to justice,” Zaffirini said in an email. “For example, the Texas Labor Code does not specifically name ‘sexual harassment’ among its ‘unlawful employment practices,’ except with respect to unpaid interns. What’s more, the code applies only to employers with 15 or more employees. It is absurd that someone should be able to engage in sexual harassment with impunity simply because the number of employees he or she supervises is 14 or fewer.”

Karen Wyatt was working in San Marcos and said she had grown accustomed to sexual harassment by her employer, to the point that she “attributed it to little-man syndrome.”

Read more