Texas Wesleyan Law Review
Legislating by Proxy: Did President Obama Amend the Texas Labor Code When He Signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act?
Does the Texas Labor Code permit Congress to amend Texas law by proxy? Specifically, does the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act automatically incorporate Title VII amendments? This is the question posed to Texas courts and federal courts interpreting the limitations period for filing employment discrimination claims with the Texas Workforce Commission. Despite almost two decades of court precedent interpreting Texas's equal employment opportunity law, the answer is anything but clear. With the passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, Texas courts must decide whether the law automatically incorporates the federal act or not. Given Title VII's deference to state law, the answer might seem simple. But, relying on the Texas Labor Code's correlative policy statement, when interpreting vagaries in Texas equal employment opportunity law, Texas courts have historically looked to federal case law interpreting Title VII for guidance. Does this practice mean that the Texas Labor Code must now automatically incorporate the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act because federal case law will now include it? This is the dilemma facing Texas courts. This Comment will discuss how courts, including some outside of Texas, have handled this question. Using these court opinions, this Comment will show why the Texas Labor Code does not support automatic incorporation. Additionally, this Comment recommends a legislative solution. By amending the correlative policy statement that Texas courts have used as justification for seeking guidance from federal case law, the Texas legislature can easily head off future automatic incorporation questions, sparing judicial resources and adding stability to Texas's equal employment opportunity law.
Legislating by Proxy: Did President Obama Amend the Texas Labor Code When He Signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act?,
Tex. Wesleyan L. Rev.
Available at: https://doi.org/10.37419/TWLR.V18.I2.8