Texas Health & Safety Code
Under state law, nurses and employees of hospitals, mental health facilities, or treatment facilities are protected from retaliation for reporting violations of law. Under Chapter 301 of the Occupations Code, a nurse may not be retaliated against for refusing to perform certain actions or reporting certain behavior. At Wiley Walsh, P.C. experienced employment attorneys can help you determine whether you have a claim and develop a strategy to pursue it.Texas Nurses have Whistleblower and Retaliation Protection on the Texas Occupations Code
Under the Texas Occupations Code, a nurse may not be terminated, disciplined, suspended, or discriminated against for engaging in protected behavior. For example, a nurse cannot be retaliated against for reporting to her employer that another nurse has exposed a patient to substantial risk of harm by failing to provide care that meets minimum acceptable standards. A nurse cannot be retaliated against for reporting to the nursing board conduct by another nurse that violates a board rule and caused death or serious injury to a patient. A nurse may not be retaliated against for reporting to the board that another nurse has engaged in fraud, exploitation or abuse.
Additionally, a nurse cannot be retaliated against for refusing to engage in conduct that would require another nurse to report her to the board or that would violate a rule of the board.Hospital, Mental Health Facility, and Treatment Facility Employees have Whistleblower Protection Under the Health & Safety Code.
Chapter 161 of the Texas Health & Safety Code makes it unlawful to terminate or otherwise retaliate against an employee for reporting a violation of law. Unlike some other whistleblower laws, to be covered, an employee only has to report the violation of law to the employee’s supervisor. The report can be made verbally or in writing. An employee would also be protected if they reported a violation of law to an administrator of the facility, a state regulatory agency, or a law enforcement agency.
This provision is broader than the retaliation provision in the Occupations Code because it covers ALL employees of hospitals, mental health facilities, and treatment facilities, not just nurses. Furthermore, the reported violation of law does not expressly have to concern patient care, nursing standards, or nursing board rules.Consult with an Austin Attorney if you Believe you have been Retaliated Against.
Under the Health & Safety Code, an employee who believes they have been unlawfully retaliated against must file suit within 180 days of the retaliatory act. Failure to meet this deadline would bar an employee’s claim. While Chapter 301 of the Occupations Code does not have an explicit statute of limitations and would most likely be subject to a four year statute of limitations, at least one federal court in Austin has applied the 180 day Health & Safety Code limitations period to such claims. Therefore, it is best to consult with an Austin employment attorney as soon as possible to determine what action to take and the best way to pursue your claim. Wiley Walsh, P.C. represents workers who are seeking an employment attorney in cities such as Austin, Georgetown, Round Rock, Cedar Park, Pflugerville, Leander, Del Valle, Kyle, San Marcos, San Antonio, New Braunfels, and Fredericksburg. Contact us at (512) 271-5527 or via our online form for an appointment.