Protecting Workers From Workplace Retaliation in Texas


There is no general law in Texas that makes it illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee. Rather, there are a patchwork of laws that protect employees for employer retaliation towards specific activity or rights. In simple terms, whether or not you have protection against retaliation depend on the reasons for the retaliation. Texas and Federal law provide protections in some instances, and there are no rights or remedies in other circumstances.


To determine if your employer has engaged in unlawful retaliation, you should contact a Texas employment attorney immediately. Below is a general list of illegal retaliation under Texas and Federal law:

  • Retaliation for refusing to commit an illegal act;
  • Retaliation against a public employee (state or local government in Texas) for reporting an illegal act;
  • Retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim or for reporting a workplace injury (if your employer subscribes to workers’ compensation); Retaliation for opposing, reporting, or complaining about discrimination in the workplace (including discrimination based on race, color, disability, national origin, age, sex);
  • Retaliation for opposing, reporting, or complaining about sexual harassment;
  • Retaliation against a public employee (any public employee) for exercising his/her first amendment right to free speech;
  • Retaliation for filing a complaint of discrimination with the EEOC or Texas Workforce Commission Retaliation against nursing home employees or employees of assisted living facilities for whistleblowing;
  • Retaliation against a nurse for certain whistleblowing, including submitting reports regarding other nurses, requesting a nursing peer review committee determination, and refusing to engage in certain acts Retaliation against employees of certain hospitals and mental-health facilities for whisteblowing;
  • Retaliation against a physician for certain reports regarding other physicians;
  • Retaliation for making a wage claim for unpaid wages or overtime with the Department of Labor or Texas Workforce Commission; Retaliation for reporting commercial motor vehicle safety law violations;
  • Retaliation for union membership or union activities;
  • Retaliation for certain military service, including membership in the National Guard or Guard related duties;
  • Retaliation for serving on a jury;
  • Retaliation for reporting violations of job-related safety and health;
  • Retaliation for blowing the whistle on accounting irregularities or securities law violations (Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblowing);
  • Retaliation for blowing the whistle on fraud in government contracts (including false claims act or “qui tam” retaliation);
  • Retaliation for blowing the whistle of violations of law related to government contracts under the Stimulus/Recovery Act.


This list is not all-inclusive, and there are other laws that protect against employer retaliation in certain circumstances. Unfortunately, the laws listed above have many exceptions and many qualifications. To find out if you are protected by the laws listed above, you should seek legal advice from someone specializing in employment law. It should be noted that a number of new retaliation/whistleblower laws have been passed in the recent past, and this area of law is often changing.


Employee Remedies For Retaliation

Because there are so many different laws that provide protections for workplace retaliation, the remedies available to employees will depend on the applicable law. Some examples of remedies that may be available in a lawsuit for unlawful retaliation include:

  • Lost wages and benefits to the time of trial
  • Lost wages and benefits into the future
  • Reinstatement
  • Compensatory damages
  • Punitive damages
  • Attorney’s fees
  • Expert witness fees
  • Costs of court


Prior to filing a lawsuit, an employee may have to file a complaint with an administrative agency, depending on the applicable law. Please note that some of the deadlines for doing so are extremely short, even as short as 30 days! Therefore, if you believe you have a claim, you should contact an Austin attorney that specializes in employment law immediately.


What to do if your Employer Retaliates Against You in Texas

Contact an attorney immediately, and preferably an attorney who specializes in Texas employment law. To preserve your rights under the laws that prohibit retaliation, you must act quickly and typically must follow certain procedural steps, such as filing a charge of discrimination with an administrative agency. Lastly, take thorough notes regarding everything retaliatory that is being said or done to you and keep all records related to your employment. These notes and records may prove invaluable in a later lawsuit.


Additional Resources for Learning About Retaliation in the Workplace



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CAUTION: The information on this webpage and website does not constitute legal advice. The purpose of this information is to provide GENERAL information to the public and to raise awareness of Texas employment laws for Texas employees. DO NOT read anything here and make a decision affecting your legal rights, such as a decision not to pursue a lawsuit or to file a lawsuit, without first consulting a lawyer. ONLY your own individual attorney can provide you with legal advice and properly inform you of your rights and remedies under the law. This website does not guarantee the accuracy of any of the information provided within it. Finally, this information only applies to Texas employees, as employment laws differ greatly from state to state.


This is not legal advice.


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