Nurses and other Health care workers are protected if they report violations of the law.
Section 161.135 of the Texas Health and Safety Code States that it is illegal to retaliate against a non-employee who reports a violation of law. Recently a nurse-anesthetist was working at a hospital and reported that a doctor failed to obtain the informed consent from the patient in violation of Texas Law. The nurse, who did not work for the hospital, but worked for a separate group that provided anesthetist services to the hospital was reassigned as a result of her complaint. A jury who heard the case awarded the nurse nearly a million dollars. Many nurses and other health care employees work at hospitals where they are not technically employees; however they are protected from retaliation for report to the hospital violations of the law in good faith. As this case shows, there are protections for nurses and other health care workers who report violations of the laws. In El Paso if you are a health care worker and you are retaliated against for reporting violation of the law or rules adopted by the Texas Board of Health or the the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug abuse you have protections and you should seek out the help of a competent employment lawyer to protect your rights.
This is the full text of the law.
(a) A hospital, mental health facility, or treatment facility may not retaliate against a person who is not an employee for reporting a violation of law, including a violation of this chapter, a rule adopted under this chapter, or a rule adopted by the Texas Board of Mental Health and Mental Retardation, the Texas Board of Health, or the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse.
(b) A hospital, mental health facility, or treatment facility that violates Subsection (a) is liable to the person retaliated against. A person who has been retaliated against in violation of Subsection (a) may sue for injunctive relief, damages, or both.
(c) A person suing under this section has the burden of proof, except that it is a rebuttable presumption that the plaintiff was retaliated against if:
(1) before the 60th day after the date on which the plaintiff made a report in good faith, the hospital, mental health facility, or treatment facility:
(A) discriminates in violation of Section 161.134 against a relative who is an employee of the facility;
(B) transfers, disciplines, suspends, terminates, or otherwise discriminates against the person or a relative who is a volunteer in the facility or who is employed under the patient work program administered by the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation;
(C) commits or threatens to commit, without justification, the person or a relative of the person; or
(D) transfers, discharges, punishes, or restricts the privileges of the person or a relative of the person who is receiving inpatient or outpatient services in the facility; or
(2) a person expected to testify on behalf of the plaintiff is intentionally made unavailable through an action of the facility, including a discharge, resignation, or transfer.
(d) A plaintiff who prevails in a suit under this section may recover actual damages, including damages for mental anguish even if an injury other than mental anguish is not shown.
(e) In addition to an award under Subsection (c), a plaintiff who prevails in a suit under this section may recover exemplary damages and reasonable attorney fees.
(f) A suit under this section may be brought in the district court of the county in which:
(1) the plaintiff received care or treatment; or
(2) the defendant conducts business.
(g) This section does not abrogate any other right to sue or interfere with any other cause of action.