A Texas worker that get terminated, set up for termination, or forced to resign after an on the job injury may have a claim for retaliation under the Texas Labor Code. Texas law prohibits an employer for retaliating against workers that are injured on the job. The Texas Labor Code states that “[a] person may not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against an employee because the employee has . . . filed a workers’
compensation claim in good faith.” TEX. LAB. CODE § 451.001(1). An employer who violates this statute can be sued in a retaliation lawsuit.
Workers’ Compensation Retaliation is an exception to the traditional doctrine of ‘employment at will’ found in Texas law.” Cont’l Coffee Prods. Co. v. Cazarez, 937 S.W.2d 444, 453 (Tex. 1996)
The Texas Supreme Court set out the causation standard for lawsuits brought under the Whistleblower Act. “[W]e held that an employee must show that the employer’s prohibited action “would not have occurred when it did” absent the employee’s protected conduct. Id. (quoting Tex. Dep’t of Human Servs. v. Hinds, 904 S.W.2d 629, 637 (Tex. 1995)).
A retaliation plaintiff generally may rely on circumstantial causation evidence. Haggar Clothing Co. v. Hernandez, 164 S.W.3d 386, 389 (Tex. 2005) (per curiam). Such circumstantial evidence may include, for example, an employer’s expression of a negative attitude toward the employee’s injury, an employer’s discriminatory treatment of the employee compared with similarly situated employees, an employer’s failure to adhere to established company policy, and evidence that the employer’s stated reason for termination was false. Cazarez, 937 S.W.2d at 451 (citation omitted).