You probably never heard of the Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA),Tex.Civ.Prac.&Rem.Code
Ann.§27.001–27.011. This is a law that sounded good when it passed. It was designed to keep people from being sued for liable and slander when they participated in a judicial or quasi-judicial procedure. In the case of Tervita v. Sutterfield, ___S.W.3d___, 2015 WL 9257035 (Tex.App.—Dallas 2015) the Dallas Court of Appeals basically said that if an employer goes to your worker’s compensation hearing and lies and does everything they can to make sure you don’t get workers’ compensation you cannot use this as a basis for claim for wrongful termination because you filed a workers’ compensation claim. In this case the Plaintiff alleged a cause of action against his employer under 451 of the Texas Labor Code for Workers’ Compensation retaliation (It is illegal under this law to fire your workers who, in good faith, file a workers’ compensation charge) because of his employers’ misrepresentation of the facts at a workers’ compensation administrative hearing. The Court held not only was the employers testimony absolutely privileged regardless of truth, but that it could not be used as the basis for a claim of workers’ compensation retaliation. The bad thing about the Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA) is that it requires an award of attorneys’ fees against the wrongfully discharged employee. So the Dallas Court of Appeals Judges found not only could the wrongfully terminated employee not use the misrepresentation by his employer at the hearing as evidence in his wrongful discharge case, but he had to pay his employers’ attorneys fees. A double kick in the head for fired and injured workers’ by the Dallas Court of Appeals Judges. Thanks. Fortunately, fired and injured workers’ in El Paso are not under the Dallas Court of Appeals, but this is a dangerous opinion and should make all workers in Texas think twice when they go and vote for these Appellate races in Texas.