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Blowin' the Whistle? You Have Rights Against Retaliation

While the image of blowing the whistle may conjure images of a NFL referee or get Too Short’s “Blow the Whistle” stuck in your head, it is a serious matter when it comes to employment law. Who better knows about the wrongdoing within a company than an employee?

A former deputy constable in Dallas County claims that he was fired for being a whistleblower. After the deputy, Lester Smith, made good faith reports to the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, he was fired by Precinct 1 Constable Derick Evans, according to Courthouse News Service.

Smith had reported that Evans improperly applied rules and regulations, treated Smith unfairly, and took disciplinary action against Smith without cause, among other allegations.

What does a Texas whistleblower suit require?

Whistleblowers are those employees that report a company or organization's wrongdoing to the proper authority. Many whistleblower laws were written to protect those in large corporations that reported issues like insider trading or manipulating markets.

These laws protect whistleblowers from being retaliated against by the company. Retaliation can take the form of termination, demotion, or disparate treatment, among others.

In Texas, the "Whistleblower Act" only protects public employees who report official wrongdoing. If the employee is successful in their whistleblower suit they can recover lost wages, court costs, legal fees and reinstatement to their position.

Here, if Smith's claims of Evans' retaliation are true, he might be able to get his job back from his lawsuit. He has a good chance of this because an investigation uncovered Evans' wrongdoing while Constable of Dallas County Precinct 1.

So if you're a public employee in Dallas or anywhere, don't be afraid to blow the whistle if there is wrongdoing in your office, because you will be protected by the whistleblower act.

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