County of El Paso v. Latimer
THE TEXAS WHISTLEBLOWER ACT
Pursuant to the Texas Whistleblower Act (the Act), a state or local governmental entity may not suspend or terminate the employment of, or take other adverse personnel action against, a public employee who makes a good faith report of a violation of law by the employing governmental entity or another public employee to an appropriate law enforcement authority. SeeTex. Gov'T Code Ann. § 554.002(a) (West 2012). The Act is "'designed to enhance openness in government and compel the [employing governmental entity's] compliance with law by protecting those who inform authorities of wrongdoing.'" Resendez v. Tex. Comm. On Environmental Quality, 391 S.W.3d 312, 320 (Tex. App. - Austin 2012, pet. filed) (quoting Tex. Dep't of Assistive & Rehabilitative Servs. v. Howard, 182 S.W.3d 393, 399 (Tex. App. - Austin 2005, pet. denied). Because the Act is remedial in nature, it should be liberally construed to effect its purpose. Id. Governmental immunity is expressly waived under the Act. SeeTex. Gov'T Code Ann. § 554.0035 (West 2012).
The Act requires a public employee to sue no later than 90 days after the alleged violation occurred or was discovered through reasonable diligence. Id. § 554.005. If applicable, an employee must initiate an action under the grievance or appeal procedures of the employing state or local government entity relating to suspension or termination of employment or adverse personnel action, no later than the 90th day after the alleged violation occurred or was discovered by the employee. Id. § 554.006(a)-(b). When the employer's grievance or appeal procedures are initiated, the statute of limitations is tolled.Id. § 554.006(c). If the employer has not made a final decision before the 61st day after the grievance or appeal procedures are initiated, the employee may elect (1) to exhaust the applicable procedures, and file suit no later than the 30th day after those procedures are exhausted; or (2) to terminate procedures under Section 554.006(a), and file suit within the time remaining under Section 554.005.Id. § 554.006(d).