As a government employee, what do you do if you discover your employer, a government agency or organization, is breaking the law? While you might feel compelled to report your employer to the authorities, you may be equally worried it could cost you your job. Fortunately, government employees who alert authorities to wrongdoings by their employers are offered numerous protections under the Texas Whistleblower Act.
Blowing the Whistle on an Employer
There are numerous wrongdoings a government agency or organization might engage in, including violating the Texas Open Meeting Act or the Texas Public Information Act, safety regulations, or committing an illegal activity. Unfortunately, blowing the whistle on a government employer comes with many risks. Employees or whistleblowers could lose their jobs and be blacklisted in their respective fields; but, retaliation of this type is also illegal under the Texas Whistleblower Act
The Texas Whistleblower Act
To encourage employees to report illegal activity by government agencies and organizations, state legislators passed the Texas Whistleblower Act in 1983. Under this Act, public employees are protected from various forms of retaliation by employers, including suspension, termination, or any adverse actions against the employee. It is important to note the Texas Whistleblower Act only protects public, and not private employees, with some exceptions. Certain healthcare professionals that report abuse can seek protection under the Texas Whistleblower Act. Additionally, employees reporting violations of the Hazard Communication Act or certain types of discrimination can also be protected from retaliation.
Why You Need A Lawyer
Whistleblower laws in Texas can be complex, and some government agencies and organizations will blatantly violate them. When this occurs, an experienced whistleblower attorney can help victims seek compensation for back pay, benefits and seniority, and other damages. If you work for a public entity and suspect the government agency or organization you work for is committing wrongdoing, you should contact a lawyer immediately. By partnering with an experienced lawyer, you will be able to protect yourself from retaliation. It is also important to work with a lawyer because you need someone who is looking out for your best interests. Law enforcement agencies will work to get justice, and this can sometimes cause the whistleblower to suffer collateral damage. An attorney can protect you and your best interests at all times.
At Feldman & Feldman, we have worked with numerous whistleblowers in Texas as they courageously stand up to government agencies committing wrongdoing. It is our pleasure to serve Houston and the entire state of Texas by supporting and protecting citizens who report government abuses.