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Common Violations in Employment Law # 3: Workers Compensation Retaliation

Texas Law prohibits discrimination against employees who make or pursue workers’ compensation claims. Presently located at Chapter 451 of the Labor Code, the anti-retaliation provision prohibits an employer from discharging or otherwise discriminating against an employee because that employee has filed a workers’ compensation claim in good faith or otherwise acted in furtherance of his or her rights under the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act.

The purpose of the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act is to protect an employee’s entitlement to workers’ compensation benefits as well as protect the employee from termination because of an on the job injury or because the employee has taken steps to collect benefits.

Chapter 451 of the Texas Labor Code prohibits employers from discriminating against an employee because the employee:

• Filed a workers’ compensation claim;

• Hired a lawyer to represent the employee in a claim;

• Instituted or caused to be instituted in good faith a proceeding under the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act; or

• Testified or is about to testify in a proceeding under the Act.

The most common form of Chapter 451 claim is for discriminatory or “retaliatory” discharge, but other forms of discrimination are also actionable. Adverse action short of termination may also be impermissible under Chapter 451.

It is not necessary to have actually filed a workers compensation claim to invoke the statutory protection under Chapter 451, simply having taken steps toward instituting a claim. For example, informing your employer of an on-the-job injury sufficiently institutes a claim.

A wrongful termination claim like this one under Chapter 451 must be filed within two years after the cause of action accrues. A cause of action accrues when the worker receives notice of termination or when worker should have known of the termination.

If you believe you may have a workers compensation retaliation case, Call BIG DAN immediately for a FREE consultation.

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