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News Wrongful Termination, Workers' Compensation and Work Injuries

​Restraints Against Commerce—Contractual Penalty for Resignation

Written by Mr. Roger Davie on Monday, 22 Jan 2018.

Restraints Against Commerce—Contractual Penalty for Resignation—Rieves v. Buc-ee’s Ltd., ___ S.W.3d ___, 2017 WL 4557796 (Tex. App—Houston [14th Dist.] 2017)—The employer hired the plaintiff as an hourly-rated, “at will” employee but subject to a contract requiring her to repay all her “fixed monthly bonus,” which was a substantial part of her total compensation, if her employment terminated for “any reason” before the end of five years or if she failed to g [read more]

Retaliation—Proof of Causation—Discrimination in Promotion

Written by Mr. Roger Davie on Monday, 22 Jan 2018.

Retaliation—Proof of Causation—Discrimination in Promotion—Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County v. Ridley, ___ S.W.3d ___, 2017 WL 3910160 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2017)—In a Chapter 21 suit against a public employer the plaintiff bears elevated pleading requirements to overcome the employer’s sovereign immunity defense. In this case the court holds that the plaintiff failed to present sufficient facts to show a causal link between her prot [read more]

​Time Limit for Filing Administrative Complaint—Effect of Pending Grievance or Appeal

Written by Mr. Roger Davie on Monday, 22 Jan 2018.

Time Limit for Filing Administrative Complaint—Effect of Pending Grievance or Appeal—Alamo Community College District v. Ryan, 2017 WL 4942858 (Tex. App.—San Antonio 2017) (not for publication)—The 180 day time period for filing an administrative complaint under Chapter 21 begins to run when a plaintiff learns of an adverse action or of the decision to take an adverse action, and the time to file a complaint is not suspended by the pendency of the plaintiff’s int [read more]

​Late Wage Payment—Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies

Written by Mr. Roger Davie on Monday, 22 Jan 2018.

Late Wage Payment—Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies—Garrett v. Prologistix, 2017 WL 4782508 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2017) (not for publication)—The Texas Labor Code requires an employer to pay “in full” all wages due to an employee within six days of the termination of employment. Tex. Lab. Code § 61.014. If the employer pays in full a few days late, is it still liable to the employee for any amount? Section 61.014 does not indicate any liability or co [read more]

​Whistleblower Act—Evidence of Retaliatory Intent

Written by Mr. Roger Davie on Monday, 22 Jan 2018.

Whistleblower Act—Evidence of Retaliatory Intent—Office of the Attorney General of Texas v. Rodriguez, ___ S.W.3d ___, 2017 WL 4586128 (Tex. App.—El Paso 2017)—The usual “whistleblower” involves an employee’s report implicating higher managers who then use their superior managerial power to retaliate against the whistleblower. In this case, however, the whistleblower reported her suspicion of a subordinate’s wrongdoing. When the employer agency subsequently disci [read more]

Whistleblower Act—Grievance Procedure—Public School Teachers

Written by Mr. Roger Davie on Monday, 22 Jan 2018.

Whistleblower Act—Grievance Procedure—Public School Teachers—Whitney v. El Paso Independent School District, ___ S.W.3d ___, 2017 WL 3614149 (Tex. App.—El Paso 2017)—The Whistleblower Act provides that an employee whistleblower must file a grievance with an employer agency before filing a lawsuit under the Act. The termination appeal process set out in the Education Code serves as a school district’s grievance procedure for this purpose. Therefore, the teac [read more]

​Whistleblower Act—Report of Violation of Law

Written by Mr. Roger Davie on Monday, 22 Jan 2018.

Whistleblower Act—Report of Violation of Law—County Immunity from Contract Liability— Patterson v. Marcantel, 2017 WL 4844514 (Tex. App.—Beaumont 2017) (not for publication)—The plaintiff’s alleged report of the violation of internal department policy did not constitute protected whistleblowing because an internal policy is not a “law” for purposes of the Whistleblower Act. The plaintiff’s breach of contract claim against the defendant county failed because [read more]

Severance Pay—Unconstitutional Debt—Waiver of Governmental Immunity from Contract—

Written by Mr. Roger Davie on Monday, 22 Jan 2018.

—City of Pearsall v. Tobias, ___ S.W.3d ___, 2017 WL 3495137 (Tex. App.—San Antonio 2017)—A public employment contract that provided severance pay of up to one year’s salary did not violate the Texas Constitution, art. 11, § 7 (limiting the creation of public debts not covered by current revenue), because the contract limited the city’s liability to a single year’s pay. Moreover, enforcement of the contract was not barred by governmental immunity. The Legislature has w [read more]

Civil Service Commissions—Election to Appeal to Hearing Examiner

Written by Mr. Roger Davie on Monday, 22 Jan 2018.

Civil Service Commissions—Election to Appeal to Hearing Examiner—In re City of Beaumont, 2017 WL 5179785 (Tex. App.—Beaumont 2017) (not for publication)—A suspended firefighter or police officer can choose between appealing to the local civil service commission or to an independent third-party hearing examiner. Tex. Loc. Gov’t Code §§ 143.053, 143.057(a). In this case, the firefighter initially elected to take his case before a hearing examiner and he prevailed i [read more]

Backpay—Front pay—Mitigation of Damages

Written by Mr. Roger Davie on Monday, 22 Jan 2018.

Backpay—Front pay—Mitigation of Damages—Office of the Attorney General of Texas v. Rodriguez, ___ S.W.3d ___, 2017 WL 4586128 (Tex. App.—El Paso 2017)—The employer argued that the plaintiff in this Whistleblower Act case failed to mitigate her damages for purposes of front pay. The court observed that if a plaintiff presents evidence of reasonable efforts to obtain substitute employment, the defendant must present evidence “that substantially similar positi [read more]