Understanding Retaliation Provisions Under the Texas Health and Safety Code

Riley Carter

Dallas Employment Trial Lawyer Riley Carter

In Texas, the laws governing workplace safety are robustly outlined within the Texas Health and Safety Code. Among its provisions lies protection against retaliation, ensuring that employees who report safety violations or participate in safety-related activities are shielded from adverse actions by their employers. Understanding these retaliation provisions is crucial for both employers and employees to uphold a safe and fair working environment.

The Texas Health and Safety Code, specifically Sections 260A.014, 161.134, and 142.003 prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who exercise their rights under the code. These rights include reporting safety violations, filing complaints, or participating in investigations regarding workplace health and safety.

Protected Activities:

 Employees are protected when they engage in various activities related to workplace safety. These activities include:

Reporting Violations: Employees have the right to report safety violations to appropriate authorities without fear of retaliation. This reporting can include hazardous working conditions, unsafe equipment, or violations of health and safety standards.

Filing Complaints: Employees are entitled to file complaints with regulatory agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or the Texas Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) regarding safety concerns in the workplace.

Participating in Investigations: Employees have the right to participate in investigations related to workplace safety without facing adverse consequences from their employers. This participation can involve providing information, giving testimony, or cooperating with regulatory agencies.

Forms of Retaliation:

 Retaliation can take various forms, ranging from overt actions to subtle forms of harassment. Some common examples of retaliation in the context of workplace safety include:

Termination or Demotion:  Employers may unlawfully terminate or demote employees who report safety violations or participate in safety-related activities.

Disciplinary Actions: Employees may face unwarranted disciplinary actions, such as reprimands or write-ups, as a form of retaliation for engaging in protected activities.

Isolation or Exclusion: Employers may isolate or exclude employees who raise safety concerns from important meetings, projects, or opportunities as a means of retaliation.

Harassment or Intimidation: Retaliation can also manifest through harassment or intimidation tactics aimed at discouraging employees from exercising their rights under the Texas Health and Safety Code.

Legal Remedies:

 Employees who experience retaliation for engaging in protected activities have legal recourse available to them. Remedies for retaliation under the Texas Health and Safety Code may include: reinstatement, front pay, back pay, compensatory damages, injunctive relief, and award of attorneys’ fees.


 Retaliation against employees for exercising their rights under the Texas Health and Safety Code is unlawful and undermines the fundamental principles of workplace safety. Employers must understand their obligations to refrain from retaliatory actions, while employees should be aware of their rights and avenues for seeking redress in case of retaliation. By upholding these provisions, Texas workplaces can foster a culture of safety and accountability, benefiting both employers and employees alike.


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