86R1758 JSC-D
  By: Rodríguez S.B. No. 160
  relating to a prohibition on sex discrimination in employment
         SECTION 1.  Subchapter C, Chapter 21, Labor Code, is amended
  by adding Section 21.1061 to read as follows:
  purposes of this chapter, a violation of Chapter 24 is considered to
  be discrimination on the basis of sex.
         SECTION 2.  Subtitle A, Title 2, Labor Code, is amended by
  adding Chapter 24 to read as follows:
         Sec. 24.001.  DEFINITIONS.  In this chapter:
               (1)  "Applicant" means a person who has made an oral or
  written application with an employer, or has sent a resume or other
  correspondence to an employer, indicating an interest in
               (2)  "Commission" means the Texas Workforce
               (3)  "Employee" and "employer" have the meanings
  assigned by Section 21.002.
               (4)  "Wages" has the meaning assigned by Section
  WAGE HISTORY INFORMATION. (a) An employer may not:
               (1)  include a question regarding an applicant's wage
  history information on an employment application form;
               (2)  inquire into or consider an applicant's wage
  history information; or
               (3)  obtain an applicant's wage history information
  from a previous employer of the applicant, unless the wages in that
  previous employment position are subject to disclosure under
  Chapter 552, Government Code.
         (b)  Notwithstanding Subsection (a), an applicant may
  provide written authorization to a prospective employer to confirm
  the applicant's wage history, including benefits or other
  compensation, only after the prospective employer has made a
  written offer of employment to the applicant that includes the
  applicant's wage and benefit information for the position.
  (a)  For purposes of this section, "business necessity" means an
  overriding legitimate business purpose such that the factor relied
  upon in determining wage differential effectively fulfills the
  business purpose the factor is intended to serve.
         (b)  An employer commits an unlawful employment practice in
  violation of this chapter and Chapter 21 if the employer
  discriminates among employees on the basis of sex by paying wages to
  an employee at a rate less than the rate at which the employer pays
  wages to another employee of the opposite sex for the same or
  substantially similar work on jobs, the performance of which
  requires equal or substantially similar skill, effort, and
  responsibility, and which are performed under similar working
  conditions, except where the payment is made under one of the
  following factors:
               (1)  a seniority system;
               (2)  a merit system;
               (3)  a system that measures earnings by quantity or
  quality of production; or
               (4)  a differential based on a bona fide factor other
  than sex.
         (c)  A seniority system described by Subsection (b)(1) may
  not deduct from the employee's service time any leave that the
  employee took under the Family and Medical Leave Act (29 U.S.C.
  Section 2601 et seq.) or other applicable family or medical leave to
  which the employee is entitled.
         (d)  The exception provided by Subsection (b)(4) applies
  only if the employer demonstrates that the factor:
               (1)  is not based on or derived from a differential
  based on sex in compensation;
               (2)  is related to the position in question; and
               (3)  is consistent with business necessity.
         (e)  An employer may not enter into an agreement with an
  employee that provides that the employer may pay the employee a wage
  at a rate that is in violation of this section.
         Sec. 24.004.  OTHER PROHIBITED ACTS. (a) An employer
  commits an unlawful employment practice in violation of this
  chapter and Chapter 21 if the employer:
               (1)  takes an adverse action or otherwise discriminates
  against a person because the person has:
                     (A)  opposed an act or practice made unlawful by
  this chapter;
                     (B)  sought to enforce rights protected under this
  chapter; or
                     (C)  testified, assisted, or participated in any
  manner in an investigation, hearing, or other proceeding to enforce
  this chapter; or
               (2)  discharges or in any other manner discriminates
  against, coerces, intimidates, threatens, or interferes with an
  employee or other person because the person:
                     (A)  inquired about, disclosed, compared, or
  otherwise discussed an employee's wages; or
                     (B)  exercised or enjoyed, or aided or encouraged
  another person to exercise or enjoy, any right granted or protected
  by this chapter.
         (b)  This section does not require an employee to disclose
  the employee's wages.
         (c)  An employer may prohibit a human resources employee
  whose job responsibilities require access to the compensation
  information of other employees from disclosing that information
  without the written consent of the employee who is the subject of
  the information. This subsection does not apply to compensation
  information that is subject to disclosure under Chapter 552,
  Government Code.
         Sec. 24.005.  NOTICE BY EMPLOYER REQUIRED. Each employer
  shall post in conspicuous places on the premises of the employer
  where notices to employees and applicants for employment are
  customarily posted a notice, prepared or approved by the
  commission, setting forth the pertinent provisions of this chapter
  and information relating to the enforcement of this chapter.
         Sec. 24.006.  COMPLAINT; ENFORCEMENT. (a) A person
  aggrieved by an unlawful employment practice under this chapter may
  file a complaint with the commission. A complaint filed under this
  section is subject to Subchapters E and F, Chapter 21.
         (b)  The commission shall enforce this chapter in accordance
  with Chapter 21.
  DEFENSE. (a) An employer is encouraged to periodically perform a
  self-evaluation of the employer's business practices and
  compensation to ensure that the employer is in compliance with this
         (b)  In a civil action filed under Subchapter F, Chapter 21,
  by a person aggrieved by an unlawful employment practice under this
  chapter, it is an affirmative defense to liability for compensatory
  or punitive damages under Section 21.2585 that:
               (1)  the employer performed a self-evaluation of the
  employer's business practices and compensation in the three-year
  period preceding the date of the conduct that is the basis of the
  complaint; and 
               (2)  the employer has in good faith demonstrated that,
  following the date of the evaluation under Subdivision (1), the
  employer has made reasonable progress toward eliminating
  compensation differentials based on sex.
         (c)  This section does not require an employer to perform a
  self-evaluation or subject an employer to any penalty for failing
  to perform a self-evaluation.
         Sec. 24.008.  TASK FORCE. (a) The task force on wage
  disparity is created and is composed of the following 15 members:
               (1)  the member of the commission who represents labor,
  or the member's designee, to serve as presiding officer;
               (2)  the attorney general or the attorney general's
               (3)  three members of the house of representatives,
  appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives;
               (4)  three members of the senate, appointed by the
  lieutenant governor; and
               (5)  seven public members, appointed by the governor:
                     (A)  one of whom represents employers;
                     (B)  two of whom have experience in the field of
  gender economics; 
                     (C)  one of whom represents organized labor; and
                     (D)  three of whom represent women's advocacy
  groups or associations.
         (b)  The task force shall investigate, analyze, and study the
  factors, causes, and impact of wage disparity based on gender.
         (c)  Not later than January 1 of each odd-numbered year, the
  task force shall submit to the legislature recommendations to
  reduce wage disparity based on gender, including any proposed
         (d)  Members of the task force serve without compensation and
  may not be reimbursed for travel or other expenses incurred while
  conducting the business of the task force.
         (e)  The commission shall provide administrative support to
  the task force, including necessary staff and meeting facilities.
         (f)  The task force is abolished and this section expires
  September 1, 2025.
         SECTION 3.  The changes in law made by this Act apply only to
  an unlawful employment practice with regard to discrimination in
  payment of compensation that occurs on or after January 1, 2020.
         SECTION 4.  This Act takes effect January 1, 2020.