Texas Workers’ Compensation Retaliation Lawyers
Were you hurt in an accident at work? Did you file a workers’ compensation claim, only to have your employer retaliate against you for it? If so, you have the right to defend yourself against these unfair actions. Leichter Law Firm PC represents injured workers who have been mistreated by their employer after an accident on the job, and we’re here to help put a stop to any retaliatory actions you have faced or are facing.
Texas Labor Code § 451.001 establishes that a person cannot discharge or discriminate in any matter against an employee who files a workers’ compensation claim, hires a lawyer to represent them in the claim, institutes or causes a workers’ compensation proceeding to be instituted, or testifies or is about to testify in a workers’ compensation proceeding. Many retaliation cases involve wrongful termination, but other people may be reassigned to less-desirable positions or be denied promotions, raises, or other opportunities for career advancement.
Under Texas Labor Code § 451.002, any violation of Texas Labor Code § 451.001 will make the violator liable to the employee for reasonable damages. An employee does not have to prove that retaliation was the sole basis for their termination or adverse employment action, only that the termination or adverse employment action was because of their engaging in a protected workers’ compensation activity.
Did your employer retaliate against you for exercising your workers’ compensation rights in Texas? You may be entitled to compensation for loss of future earnings, mental anguish, and other damages. The Texas workers’ compensation retaliation attorneys with Leichter Law Firm PC have offices in Houston, Austin, and McAllen. Call (956) 205-0884 or contact us online to receive a free consultation.
Do I Need A Workers’ Compensation Retaliation Lawyer?
Many retaliation claims involve termination, and employers in such cases will frequently argue that the dismissals were for other justifiable causes. When retaliation does not involve termination, an employee then must demonstrate that an employer engaged in a materially adverse employment action.
A materially adverse employment action is a subjective term that can include many different types of employer conduct, but they are not always easy to prove or connect with protected workers’ employment actions. You will want to have an attorney for assistance in making sure that you are presenting the strongest possible case.
An experienced lawyer will be able to complete an independent investigation of your case. During this investigation, that attorney will be able to collect necessary evidence that can be used to demonstrate an employer retaliated against an employee because of their engaging in protected activity.
You will also want to have legal representation if you have to deal with any insurance company at any time during your workers’ compensation claim. Insurers often trick people into saying things that ultimately hurt their claims, and a lawyer can handle these phone calls on your behalf.
Why Choose Leichter Law Firm PC To Handle My Case?
Leichter Law Firm PC have secured millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for scores of clients. Our record of success includes a $29,769 settlement to a retaliation claim that involved only $1,030 in unpaid wages.
Founder Louis Leichter has an AV Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell, which is a peer rating denoting the highest level of professional excellence. He is a member of the Travis County Bar Association and State Bar of Texas.
David Langenfeld is Board Certified as a Specialist in Labor and Employment Law, and less than 10 percent of attorneys are Board Certified in any area of law with fewer than 1 percent being Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law specifically. He is admitted to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.
Leichter Law Firm PC represents all clients on a contingency fee basis, which means that you will not have to pay anything until you receive a monetary award. We serve only employees in Texas, never employers.
Types of Workers’ Compensation Retaliation Cases We Handle
A workers’ compensation retaliation claim will primarily hinge on two elements:
- The employer discharged or otherwise discriminated against the employee.
- Direct or circumstantial evidence suggests the reasons for the discharge or discrimination is because the employee engaged in one of the statutorily-protected activities under Texas Labor Code § 451.001.
Chapter 451 of the Texas Labor Code applies to most private employers and some government employers. The chapter of law does not have its own statute of limitations, so the typical two-year limit that applies to most tort cases also applies to many retaliation actions.
Under Section 451.002(b), an employee can be entitled to reinstatement and reasonable damages. If reinstatement is awarded, an employee may have to elect a remedy if the relief is inconsistent with an award for future wage damages.
Actual damages can include past and future lost wages and benefits based on the amount that the employee would have earned or would be expected to earn in the future had they not been discharged or discriminated against. An employee cannot recover damages for injuries for which they already received workers’ compensation benefits.
Actual damages can also include mental anguish awards. A very limited number of cases could also involve punitive damages (also known as exemplary damages), but punitive damages cannot be awarded unless actual damages are proven.
Many jury awards in cases involving governmental entities are limited (or “capped”) by the Texas Tort Claims Act. Texas Labor Code § 21.2585(d) further provides that compensatory damages cannot exceed $50,000 for an employer with fewer than 101 employees, $100,000 for an employer with more than 100 and fewer than 201 employees, $200,000 for an employer with more than 200 and fewer than 501 employees, and $300,000 for an employer with more than 500 employees.
Frequently Asked Questions About Workers’ Compensation Retaliation
What is a materially adverse action?
The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) states that the “most obvious types of adverse actions” include discharge, suspension, demotion, denial of job benefits, refusal to hire, and denial of promotion. Additional kinds of adverse actions identified by the EEOC include transfers to less prestigious or desirable work or work locations, negative or lowered evaluations, transfers, reprimands, warnings, work-related threats, and any other type of adverse treatment that in the circumstances might well dissuade a reasonable person from engaging in protected activity. The EEOC also notes that a materially adverse action could be an action that has no tangible effect on employment or takes place outside of work, such as taking or threatening to take an adverse action against a close family member, terminating a union grievance process or other action to prevent access to remedial mechanisms, making threats of deportation, requiring re-verification of work status, or any other action involving immigration authorities, abusive verbal or physical behavior, loss of supervisory responsibilities, greater scrutiny compared to other employees, threatened reassignment, filing of civil actions, false reports to government authorities, disparagement of the employee to the media or others, or any other action that could possibly deter a person from engaging in protected activity.
What kinds of evidence might support an employer’s claim that their actions were not motivated by retaliation?
An employer can often counter a retaliation claim by merely proving that they were not aware of the employee engaging in protected activity. Many cases will involve employers claiming to have legitimate non-retaliatory motives for their actions, such as an employee’s poor performance or misconduct. In other cases, an employee may not have had the necessary qualifications for promotion. Financial issues forcing a reduction in the workforce or downsizing can also be an acceptable reason for discharge. Negative references may also be the basis for lack or promotion. An employer can avoid liability by providing evidence that their action would have occurred regardless of the employee’s protected action, even when it appears to be a retaliatory motive.
If my employer has retaliated by making work conditions unbearable, should I quit?
Do not resign without first speaking to an attorney. Quitting too quickly could hurt your claim, so you want to be sure that you handle your situation in the most beneficial manner possible for yourself. If your case involves qui tam whistleblower retaliation, quitting will prevent you from being able to collect any more information for your action.
Workers’ Compensation Retaliation Statistics
According to the EEOC, the agency had 41,097 receipts of charges alleging retaliation-based discrimination in the fiscal year 2017. The 46,811 resolutions achieved that year were the most of any year during the period dating back to the fiscal year 1997.
The EEOC reported that 32,124 of those resolutions, or 68.6 percent, were found to have no reasonable cause. The other resolutions included 2,950 settlements (6.3 percent), 2,762 withdrawals with benefits (5.9 percent), 7,746 administrative closures (16.5 percent), 437 cases with reasonable cause and successful conciliations (0.9 percent), 792 cases with reasonable cause and unsuccessful conciliations (1.7 percent), and 6,941 merit resolutions (14.8 percent).
The $192 million in monetary benefits awarded in the fiscal year 2017 was also the most of any year on record since the fiscal year 1997.
Contact a Texas Workers’ Compensation Retaliation Attorney Today
If an employer retaliated against you because of you taking a protected workers’ compensation action, you would want to seek legal representation as soon as possible. It can be challenging to prove, but an experienced retaliation attorney will know to accomplish this.
Leichter Law Firm PC takes on employers of all sizes. You can have our lawyers review your case when you call (956) 205-0884 or contact us online to take advantage of a free consultation.