C.S.H.B. 1009
By: Johnson/Junell/Hunter, T.
Committee Report (Substituted)


The purpose of Worker's Compensation is to give temporary aid to
those who are injured on the job.  Unfortunately, some individuals
are abusing this privilege.  If a company chooses to terminate an
employee with a workers compensation claim in their background, the
employee only has to prove that the employer's motivation for
termination was remotely linked to the worker's historical
compensation claim and not the actual cause.  This nexus creates a
dilemma for the business community; either pay out a large
settlement to end the expense or keep the employee on as a non-productive worker to curb the cost of a legal fight.


To prevent employers and employees from abusing the worker's
compensation discrimination clause.


It is the committee's opinion that this bill does not expressly
grant any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer,
department, agency or institution.


     SECTION 1.  Amends Section 451.001, Labor Code.  A person may
not discharge or discriminate against an employee because the
employee: (1) filed a worker's compensation claim in good faith;
(2) hired a lawyer to represent the employee in a claim; (3)
instituted or caused to be instituted in good faith a proceeding
under Subtitle A; or (4) testified or is about to testify in a
proceeding under Subtitle A.

     SECTION 2.  Section 451.002, Labor Code is amended by amending
Subsections (A) and (C) and by adding (D), (E), (F), (G).

     (A) Establishes that a person who violates Section 451.001 is
liable for reasonable damages incurred by the employee as a result
of the violation to include: (1) amount equal loss of wages,
commissions and bonuses;

     (2) compensation for any employer-provided benefits,
     (3) loss or damage of property, credit, and earning capacity,
     (4) emotional pain, suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish.
However, the award under this subsection may not exceed: (a) an
employer with fewer than 101 employees, $50,000; (b) an employer
with more than 100 but less than 201 employees, $100,000; (c) an
employer with more than 200 but less than 501 employees, $200,000;
(d) an employer with more than 500 employees,  $300,000, and
     (5) specifies that punitive damages may be recovered if the
complainant demonstrates that the respondent engaged in
discriminatory practice with malice or with reckless indifference. 
Punitive damages will be limited to four times the total of the
other damages awarded under this Section.

     (B) States that an employee is entitled to re-instatement when
an employee is discharged in violation of Section 451.000.

     (C) Specifies that the burden is on the employee to establish
an action of the employee protected under section 451.000 was a
motivating factor of employee's discharge.

     (D) Provides that the court may allow prevailing employee
court costs including reasonable attorney fees.

     (E) Provides that the court may allow a prevailing employer,
reasonable attorney fees if the claim was frivolous.

     (F) States that all state, county, municipal, and other
governmental or political subdivisions are liable for costs.

     (G) The court may include reasonable expert fees.

     Establishes the effective date as September 1, 1995.  This Act
applies only to a cause of action that accrues on or after the
effective date of this Act.

     Establishes an emergency clause.


The major points of difference between H.B. 1009, as introduced and
the committee substitute are as follows:

     The substitute is not a Legislative Council draft.

     Under Section 451.002, the substitute establishes reasonable
damages in 5 categories to include amount equal to any loss and
compensation for the loss by the employee of any benefits, or
reasonable damages that includes property loss, credit damage,
damage to earning capacity.  Also, reasonable damages that include
emotional pain, suffering, mental anguish. Under the former damages
specified, certain caps are defined for compensatory damages based
on a employee ratio.  Also included in this section, a complainant
may recover punitive damages against a respondent, if the
complainant demonstrates the respondent engaged in discriminatory
practice with malice or with reckless indifference.

     The burden of proof is on the employee to prove Section
451.000 as the motivating factor, which is found under Section

     The substitute establishes that the courts may impose court
costs as stated under Section 451.002 (D), (E), (F), and (G). 


H.B. 1009 was considered by the Committee on Business and Industry
in a public hearing on April 25, 1995.  Testifying in support of
the bill were J. Ken Johnson, representing himself; Lauren Don
Luttrell, representing himself; Ted B. Roberts, representing Texas
Association of Business and Chambers of Commerce; Christopher A.
Knepp, representing Texas Employment Law Council; Randall H. Erben,
representing National Federation of Independent Business-Texas. 
Testifying against H.B. 1009 were Rick Levy, representing Texas
AFL-CIO; Jack C. Vowell, representing Greater El Paso Chamber of
Commerce; Rick Freeman, representing Texas Trial Lawyers
Association; Jason M. Willett, representing himself; Clay Jenkins,
representing himself; Jeff Meyerson, representing Meyerson and
Hoffman, L.L.P..  No one testified on the bill.  The committee
considered a complete committee substitute to the bill.  The
substitute was withdrawn.  H.B. 1009 was left pending before the
committee.  H.B. 1009 was considered by the committee on pending
business in a formal meeting on April 28, 1995.  The committee
considered a complete committee substitute to the bill.  The
committee substitute was adopted without objection.  H.B. 1009 was
reported favorably, as substituted with the recommendation that it
do pass and be printed by a record vote of 7 (seven) ayes, 1 (one)
nay, 1 (one) present-not-voting, 0 (zero) absent.