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Do whistleblowers have rights in Texas?

The state of Texas is an employment-at-will state. This means employers can terminate an employee for virtually any reason. While that sounds troubling for Texas employees, laws protect whistleblowers from employer retaliation.

Texas public policy

According to Texas employment law, employers cannot terminate employees for reasons that violate the state’s public policy. While that offers some sort of reprieve, the public policy exception is very narrow. Essentially, employers cannot fire employees for refusing to commit illegal acts that carry criminal penalties.

Additionally, employers cannot fire employees for trying to find out if a directive given to them carries criminal penalties. Doing so is an example of wrongful termination.

Child abuse

Whistleblower rights in Texas protect employees who report child abuse or neglect to a supervisor, law enforcement, or other agency. According to Texas employment law, the employee reporting suspected abuse or neglect must do so in good faith.

Workplace discrimination

Workplace discrimination continues to present problems for employees nationwide. Whistleblower protection laws prevent employers from terminating or retaliating against employees who report these issues. These whistleblower protection laws include protection for employees who:

  • Oppose discriminatory practices
  • File charges under Texas’ workplace discrimination statutes
  • Participating in an investigation focusing on workplace discrimination
  • Filing formal complaints

Dealing with hazardous substances

There are whistleblower rights that protect employees who deal with hazardous substances while carrying out their daily responsibilities. According to state and federal guidelines, employers must provide MSDSs and chemical lists to employees who may face exposure to these chemicals. Employees who report their employer’s failure to provide these pieces of information receive protection under state whistleblower laws.

Texas lawmakers enacted policies that protect whistleblowers in virtually every type of industry. These laws help to keep workplaces safe by protecting employees.