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If you believe your employer has retaliated against you because you submitted, assisted someone in submitting or participated in the investigation of a discrimination complaint, you may submit a discrimination complaint based on retaliation through the TWC Civil Rights Division. To learn more about the complaint process, see How to Submit an Employment Discrimination Complaint.

Texas Labor Code Chapter 21 (Chapter 21), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protect individuals from retaliation. An employer may not fire, demote, harass or otherwise retaliate against an individual for submitting a complaint of discrimination, participating in a discrimination proceeding or otherwise opposing discrimination. The law applies to private employers with 15 or more employees, and to all state and local governmental entities no matter how many employees they have.

Employees are not excused from continuing to perform their jobs or following their company's legitimate workplace rules because they have submitted a complaint with TWC’s Civil Rights Division or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), or have opposed discrimination.

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Requirements for a Retaliation Complaint

Your retaliation discrimination complaint must show that you engaged in a protected activity, your employer took an adverse action, and there was a direct connection between the protected activity and the adverse action.

Protected Activity

Protected activities include submitting, assisting with or participating in the investigation of an employment discrimination complaint based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age or disability.

Employer Adverse Action

An adverse action is when an employer tries to stop someone from participating in a protected activity. Examples of adverse actions include:

  • Termination
  • Refusal to hire
  • Denial of promotion
  • Threats
  • Unjustified negative evaluations or references
  • Increased surveillance

Causal Connection

There must be a connection between the protected activity and the adverse employment action taken against the employee.

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Example of Retaliation Discrimination

An employee submits a complaint alleging employment discrimination because of his race and his national origin, which is a protected activity. In the months following his complaint, he begins receiving less and less overtime work, which is an adverse action. He submits another complaint alleging that the denial of overtime is in retaliation for his original discrimination complaint, showing a causal connection. Other employees with similar qualifications who have not submitted a discrimination complaint have continued to be assigned overtime at approximately the same rate. These facts establish that the employee may have been subjected to retaliation for submitting a discrimination complaint, in violation of Chapter 21, Title VII, ADEA or ADA.

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