Under this section of the Texas Labor Code, an employer may not fail or refuse to hire an individual, discharge an individual, or discriminate in any other manner against an individual in connection with compensation or the terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of race, color, disability, religion, sex, national origin, or age. This statute is important for employers in Texas to ensure that they are not discriminating against nonimmigrant workers, such as those on H-1B visas, in favor of U.S. workers or vice versa.
This section of the Texas Labor Code prohibits retaliation against a person who, under Chapter 21, opposes a discriminatory practice; makes or files a charge; files a complaint; or testifies, assists, or participates in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing. Employers must be cautious not to retaliate against H-1B workers who exercise their rights under anti-discrimination laws.
The Texas Workforce Commission is charged with administering this chapter and with adopting necessary rules for that purpose. The commission may receive, investigate, and act on complaints alleging unlawful employment practices. This statute is significant for H-1B workers as it provides a state-level avenue for addressing potential violations of their employment rights.
Licensing authorities in Texas have the power to issue, renew, deny, suspend, or revoke a license and to take other disciplinary action based on the grounds provided by the law. This statute is pertinent for H-1B workers in specialty occupations that require state licensure, as it outlines the authority of Texas licensing bodies over professional credentials.
The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) establishes the H-1B visa category, which allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. A specialty occupation is defined as one that requires theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, and a bachelor's degree or higher in the specific specialty, or its equivalent, as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States. The H-1B visa is also applicable to fashion models of distinguished merit and ability.
Under this provision, employers seeking to hire H-1B workers must file a labor condition application (LCA) with the Department of Labor. The LCA must include attestations that the employer will pay the H-1B worker a wage that is no less than the wage paid to similarly qualified workers or, if greater, the prevailing wage for the position in the geographic area. The employer must also attest that employing H-1B workers will not adversely affect the working conditions of workers similarly employed in the area, that there is no strike or lockout at the worksite, and that notice of the LCA has been provided to existing employees. The LCA is designed to ensure that the employment of H-1B workers does not undermine the labor market for U.S. workers.
The ACWIA made several changes to the H-1B program, including the establishment of a cap on the number of H-1B visas issued each year. It also introduced additional requirements for employers who are 'H-1B dependent' (i.e., have a high percentage of H-1B workers in relation to their total workforce). These employers must make additional attestations regarding the displacement of U.S. workers and the recruitment of U.S. workers. The ACWIA also imposed an additional fee on H-1B petitions, which is used to fund training and education programs for U.S. workers in technical fields.
The H-1B Visa Reform Act of 2004 introduced measures to reduce fraud and abuse in the H-1B program. It increased the H-1B visa petition fee to fund fraud prevention and detection measures. The act also mandated the development of a system for employers to electronically file labor condition applications. Additionally, it provided for the allocation of certain H-1B visas specifically to foreign workers with a master's degree or higher from U.S. institutions of higher education.