Executives in Texas companies face a unique set of concerns when facing workplace discrimination on the job. High-level employees are the subject of a significant debate regarding their own status in the employment discrimination context.
They could be viewed as either employees or as the employer themselves, due to their high-ranking managerial status. If they are viewed as employers, then they lack the protections provided by Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, whose anti-discrimination provisions are designed to protect employees.
The issue has arisen in a number of cases when a leading executive files a lawsuit for sexual harassment, glass ceiling discrimination or unlawful firing based on a protected characteristic. Frequently, the defendant will file to have the case dismissed on the grounds that the person charging discrimination is not an employee in the sense of the law.
While the Supreme Court has ruled that job title alone does not determine whether or not a person is an employee, there is a six-part test that it came up with to determine the appropriate classification. These criteria include whether the plaintiffs can be hired and fired, how and whether their work is supervised, whether they report to a superior in the company, their level of influence in the company, whether the parties expressed an intent in this regard and whether they have a share of the firm's profits and losses.
High-level executivesfacing employment discrimination would be well-served by consulting an employment attorney who can examine the situation and apply the relevant tests to help an executive subject to discrimination overcome a defense based on their employer or employee status. Because the test applied in these cases has many parts and is taken as a comprehensive whole, there are a number of factors that an employment attorney can help to present to the court to support a plaintiff's claim.