Many laypersons people are familiar with the retaliation part of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That anti-retaliation provision prohibits retaliation against someone who opposes discrimination. Title VII is a federal statute. Texas is an at-will state. But, even so, Texas does have a few state anti-retaliation statutes.
Texas prohibits reprisal against an employee who reports abuse or neglect of a resident at a nursing home. Texas Health & Safety Code Sec. 242.133. Such a lawsuit must be filed within 90 days of the alleged reprisal.
An employee is protected against being ordered to commit an illegal act. This claim is known as a Sabine Pilot claim, after Sabine Pilot v. Hauck, 687 SW 2d 733( Tex. 1985). The refusal to commit an illegal act must be the sole cause of the termination. I previously discussed an important case regarding the Sabine Pilot action here.
An employee is also protected because he/she served on a jury. Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code Sec. 122.001. An employee who believes he/she has suffered retaliation due to jury service has two years in which to bring such a claim. The damages are limited, but still, this statute does offer some protection.
Also, state or local government employees are protected if they report violations of law by their employer. See Texas Government Code Sec. 554. The good faith report of the violation of law would need to be made to an appropriate law enforcement agency. This statute is known as the Texas Whistle Blower Statute. It is only available to government employees.
While this list is not completely exhaustive, these are the few protections we Texas employees have which actually have some teeth.