Texas Family Code

Sec. § 261.110
Employer Retaliation Prohibited


(a)

In this section:

(1)

“Adverse employment action” means an action that affects an employee’s compensation, promotion, transfer, work assignment, or performance evaluation, or any other employment action that would dissuade a reasonable employee from making or supporting a report of abuse or neglect under Section 261.101 (Persons Required to Report; Time to Report).

(2)

“Professional” has the meaning assigned by Section 261.101 (Persons Required to Report; Time to Report)(b).

(b)

An employer may not suspend or terminate the employment of, discriminate against, or take any other adverse employment action against a person who is a professional and who in good faith:

(1)

reports child abuse or neglect to:

(A)

the person’s supervisor;

(B)

an administrator of the facility where the person is employed;

(C)

a state regulatory agency; or

(D)

a law enforcement agency; or

(2)

initiates or cooperates with an investigation or proceeding by a governmental entity relating to an allegation of child abuse or neglect.

(c)

A person may sue for injunctive relief, damages, or both if, in violation of this section, the person:

(1)

is suspended or terminated from the person’s employment;

(2)

is discriminated against; or

(3)

suffers any other adverse employment action.

(d)

A plaintiff who prevails in a suit under this section may recover:

(1)

actual damages, including damages for mental anguish even if an injury other than mental anguish is not shown;

(2)

exemplary damages under Chapter 41 (Damages), Civil Practice and Remedies Code, if the employer is a private employer;

(3)

court costs; and

(4)

reasonable attorney’s fees.

(e)

In addition to amounts recovered under Subsection (d), a plaintiff who prevails in a suit under this section is entitled to:

(1)

reinstatement to the person’s former position or a position that is comparable in terms of compensation, benefits, and other conditions of employment;

(2)

reinstatement of any fringe benefits and seniority rights lost because of the suspension, termination, or discrimination; and

(3)

compensation for wages lost during the period of suspension or termination.

(f)

A public employee who alleges a violation of this section may sue the employing state or local governmental entity for the relief provided for by this section. Sovereign immunity is waived and abolished to the extent of liability created by this section. A person having a claim under this section may sue a governmental unit for damages allowed by this section.

(g)

In a suit under this section against an employing state or local governmental entity, a plaintiff may not recover compensatory damages for future pecuniary losses, emotional pain, suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and other nonpecuniary losses in an amount that exceeds:

(1)

$50,000, if the employing state or local governmental entity has fewer than 101 employees in each of 20 or more calendar weeks in the calendar year in which the suit is filed or in the preceding year;

(2)

$100,000, if the employing state or local governmental entity has more than 100 and fewer than 201 employees in each of 20 or more calendar weeks in the calendar year in which the suit is filed or in the preceding year;

(3)

$200,000, if the employing state or local governmental entity has more than 200 and fewer than 501 employees in each of 20 or more calendar weeks in the calendar year in which the suit is filed or in the preceding year; and

(4)

$250,000, if the employing state or local governmental entity has more than 500 employees in each of 20 or more calendar weeks in the calendar year in which the suit is filed or in the preceding year.

(h)

If more than one subdivision of Subsection (g) applies to an employing state or local governmental entity, the amount of monetary damages that may be recovered from the entity in a suit brought under this section is governed by the applicable provision that provides the highest damage award.

(i)

A plaintiff suing under this section has the burden of proof, except that there is a rebuttable presumption that the plaintiff’s employment was suspended or terminated or that the plaintiff was otherwise discriminated against for reporting abuse or neglect if the suspension, termination, or discrimination occurs before the 61st day after the date on which the person made a report in good faith.

(j)

A suit under this section may be brought in a district or county court of the county in which:

(1)

the plaintiff was employed by the defendant; or

(2)

the defendant conducts business.

(k)

It is an affirmative defense to a suit under Subsection (b) that an employer would have taken the action against the employee that forms the basis of the suit based solely on information, observation, or evidence that is not related to the fact that the employee reported child abuse or neglect or initiated or cooperated with an investigation or proceeding relating to an allegation of child abuse or neglect.

(l)

A public employee who has a cause of action under Chapter 554 (Protection for Reporting Violations of Law), Government Code, based on conduct described by Subsection (b) may not bring an action based on that conduct under this section.

(m)

This section does not apply to a person who reports the person’s own abuse or neglect of a child or who initiates or cooperates with an investigation or proceeding by a governmental entity relating to an allegation of the person’s own abuse or neglect of a child.
Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 896, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.
Amended by:
Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 218 (H.B. 621), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2019.
Source

Last accessed
Jun. 7, 2021