Tomorrow, September 1st, Texas employers need to start observing a new law passed by the Legislature in April that requires them to treat leave to care for foster children the same as leave to care for biological or adopted children.

The new law, House Bill 88, makes the failure to comply an unlawful employment practice.  Employers do not have to have policies allowing employees to take leave to care for children, but, if they do, the policies must treat foster children the same as other children.

HB 88 is an unusual addition to Chapter 21 of the Texas Labor Code, which forbids discrimination in employment on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, age, religion, and disability and retaliation against an employee for taking part in protected activity.

Chapter 21 is still known to some as the¬†“Texas Commission on Human Rights Act,” but there is no longer a Texas Commission on Human Rights, and the chapter is actually administered by the Texas Workforce Commission’s Civil Rights Division.