By Johnson, Junell, Hunter of Nueces H.B. No. 1009
Substitute the following for H.B. No. 1009:
By Brady C.S.H.B. No. 1009
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
1-1 AN ACT
1-2 relating to discrimination against an employee based on a claim for
1-3 workers' compensation benefits and to remedies in an action
1-4 alleging that discrimination.
1-5 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
1-6 SECTION 1. Section 451.001, Labor Code, is amended to read
1-7 as follows:
1-8 Sec. 451.001. Discrimination Against Employees Prohibited.
1-9 A person may not discharge <
or in any other manner discriminate
1-10 against> an employee because the employee has:
1-11 (1) filed a workers' compensation claim in good faith;
1-12 (2) hired a lawyer to represent the employee in a
1-14 (3) instituted or caused to be instituted in good
1-15 faith a proceeding under Subtitle A; or
1-16 (4) testified or is about to testify in a proceeding
1-17 under Subtitle A.
1-18 SECTION 2. Section 451.002, Labor Code, is amended by
1-19 amending Subsections (a) and (c) and by adding Subsections (d) (e)
1-20 (f) (g) to read as follows:
1-21 (A) A person who violates Section 451.001 is liable for
1-22 < reasonable damages> incurred by the employee as a result of the
1-23 violation, including:
1-24 (1) the amount equal to any loss of wages, commissions
2-1 and bonuses incurred by the employee; and
2-2 (2) compensation for the loss by the employee of any
2-3 employer-provided benefits during the period of the violation, or
2-4 (3) reasonable damages may also include: loss or
2-5 damage to property, Loss or damage to credit, Loss or damage to
2-6 earning capacity, Damage to social and/or business reputation,
2-7 Related medical and/or burial expenses.
2-8 (4) reasonable damages may further include: emotional
2-9 pain, suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment
2-10 of life and other non-pecuniary losses. However, the sum of the
2-11 amount awarded under this subsection may not exceed for each
2-13 (a) in the case of an employer that has fewer
2-14 than 101 employees in each of twenty or more calendar weeks in the
2-15 current or proceeding calendar year, $50,000;
2-16 (b) in the case of an employer that has more
2-17 than 100 employees but fewer than 201 employees, in each of twenty
2-18 or more calendar weeks in the current or proceeding calendar year,
2-20 (c) in the case of an employer that has more
2-21 than 200 employees but fewer than 501 in each of twenty or more
2-22 calendar weeks in the current or proceeding calendar year,
2-23 $200,000; or
2-24 (d) in the case of an employer that has more
2-25 than 500 employees in each of twenty or more calendar weeks in the
2-26 current or proceeding calendar year, $300,000.
2-27 (5) A complainant may recover punitive damages against
3-1 a respondent, if the complainant demonstrates the respondent
3-2 engaged in discriminatory practice with malice or with reckless
3-3 indifference to the state protected rights of an aggrieved
3-4 individual. Punitive damages will be limited to four times the
3-5 total of the other damages awarded under this Section.
3-6 (B) An employee discharged in violation of Section 451.000
3-7 is entitled to re-instatement in the form of position of
3-9 (C) The burden of proof in a proceeding under this section
3-10 is on the employee to establish that an action of the employee
3-11 protected under section 451.000 was a < motivating factor> of the
3-12 employee's discharge from the position of employment.
3-13 (D) In an action brought under this chapter, the court may
3-14 allow a prevailing employee court costs including reasonable
3-15 attorneys fees.
3-16 (E) The court in its discretion may allow a prevailing
3-17 employer, other than a governmental employer, reasonable attorneys
3-18 fees as part of its costs if the court determines the employee's
3-19 claim was frivolous, without merit and unsupported by credible
3-21 (F) All state, county, municipal, as well as any other
3-22 governmental or political subdivisions are liable under this
3-23 Section for costs, including attorneys fees, to the same extent as
3-24 a private person.
3-25 (G) In awarding costs and attorneys fees in an action
3-26 proceeding under this chapter, the court, in its discretion may
3-27 include reasonable expert fees.
4-1 This Act takes effect September 1, 1995, and applies only to
4-2 a cause of action that accrues on or after the effective date of
4-3 this Act. An action that accrues before the effective date of this
4-4 Act is governed by the law in effect when the action accrued, and
4-5 the former law is continued in effect for that purpose.
4-6 The importance of this legislation and the crowded condition
4-7 of the calendars in both houses create an emergency and an
4-8 imperative public necessity that the constitutional rule requiring
4-9 bills to be read on three several days in each house be suspended,
4-10 and this rule is hereby suspended.