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Shortcomings Still Exist in Texas Whistleblower Law

In 1983, the Texas state legislature passed the Texas Whistleblower Act, a major step in protecting employees across nearly all industries throughout the state. However, more than 30 years later, many legal experts say there are still holes in the law that prevent it from giving employees and taxpayers the full protections they deserve, mostly due to discrepancies between the state’s whistleblower laws and procedures at the municipal level.

A recent investigation by the Killeen Daily Herald uncovered several problems with Texas whistleblower laws:

  • Reporting chain: Whistleblowers are only protected from retaliation if they report issues to a law enforcement officer. This usually is not reflected in policies at the city level, which usually have various in-house reporting chains.
  • Type of offense: Any problem reported must be considered a violation of the law for a whistleblower to be protected from retaliation in Texas. This means reports of questionable spending or misuse of money might not be sufficient.
  • Documentation: There is currently no form to properly document an official whistleblower complaint, and there’s very little information available to the public about how to find one.
  • Oversight: There is no state agency that oversees the law or assists individual reporting possible wrongdoing on the part of the government.

Despite these shortcomings, whistleblower claims can have positive outcomes. In one recent case, for example, our own attorney Steve Kardell represented former Dallas ISD investigator Don Smith, who was fired without merit, and helped him win a $95,000 settlement and regain his job. To that end, it’s still important that Texas whistleblowers come forward and report any wrongdoing they believe to have taken place within their company or organization.

To learn more about how your organization should manage whistleblower claims, contact a skilled Dallas attorney at Whistleblower Law for Managers.

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Testimonials
  • "Steve Kardell was terrific in representing me in some very adversarial discussions with Citigroup and also later represented me in my testimony before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission."  -Richard Bowen, Citigroup Whistleblower

  • "Incredible knowledge of employee related concerns and equally brilliant knowledge of health care regulations, standards of practice. I would recommend this firm to anyone."  -V.B.

  • "Reaching out to Steve Kardell was the best decision I made. His ability to provide immediate insight and direction was very powerful, and a huge relief during a very stressful time period. For anyone struggling with a whistleblower situation, I would highly recommend at least speaking with Steve. After a 10 minute call with him, I had a better understanding of what I was dealing with. Even better, he gave me some immediate hope. In the end Steve did a better job than I thought was possible. Steve was able to get in contact with people in my organization, that I didn’t have access to. Because of his years of experience, he already has contacts in many organizations in Dallas. The entire situation was handled peacefully. I was impressed by his ability to “keep the peace”–rather than creating a battle with the organization. The reason I didn’t reach out to a lawyer initially, was because I thought it would mean an immediate end to any hope of a positive relationship with the company. Steve was able to address my concerns, and in the end I was able to continue to work for them."  -KS

  • "Never thought my career would end like it did after 30 years of service. I was part of the first round of the so called reduction of force. I asked myself how can I be part of this with 30 years of seniority. How did they pick these 90 plus employees? Now, the culture of this organization made you question every decision they made. It wasn’t what you knew it’s was a culture of who you know. Nonetheless, I did not accept their severance package. I immediately starting looking for an attorney who would take on my case. After the initial call to Steve I had hope again. He was open and honest about everything and reassured me he would do his best for me, and he did. I had an awesome outcome. Thanks Steve you’re the best."  -S.S.

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