Unlike many other states, Texas does not have a general whistleblower law that protects all employees who report an employer’s unlawful activity or who elect to participate in an official investigation of an employer.
However, this does not mean that Texans do not have protection from workplace retaliation.
Many workers in the Houston area who feel like they were disciplined or fired for trying to speak up about improper conduct or otherwise do the right thing may actually have legal options depending on the circumstances.
They should consider speaking to an experienced employment law attorney before assuming that nothing can be done.
For example, public employees in Texas have broad protections should they choose to report illegal conduct to the appropriate authorities.
Likewise, an employee may be protected if he or she has signed a contract for employment and that contract offers protection against retaliation.
Private employees may have whistleblower protection under state and federal law
Private employees have more limited whistleblower protections, but these still apply to a number of situations.
For example, Texas workers enjoy the right to report child abuse and neglect. This right may be especially important for those who work in professions like childcare and education.
Many healthcare employees also enjoy protection when they are reporting violations of various laws meant to keep patients safe and healthy.
Under both state and federal law, Texans may report employment discrimination.
Likewise, there are protections for reporting violations of laws and regulations meant to ensure workplace safety. On a related point, a Texas employer is not allowed to punish an employee for filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.
Other state and federal laws may also apply to an employee’s situation.