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Employee Retaliation: Whistleblower Protection in Odessa

Companies in Odessa have the right to fire employees without notice or cause due to state at-will employment laws. While this system can be unfair for workers, there are crucial legal protections that guard them against wrongful termination and retaliation. One of these protections, the Sabine Pilot doctrine, helps prevent employers from firing workers who refuse to commit illegal acts at their direction. Another one of these protections is the Texas Whistleblower Act, which encourages government workers to report unlawful activities.

Each Carabin Shaw lawyer believes in defending your integrity at work. If you think that Sabine Pilot or the Texas Whistleblower Act might apply to you, call us today to learn more about employee retaliation and whistleblower protection in Odessa.

What Is a Whistleblower?

A whistleblower is an employee who informs on a person or organization engaged in illegal activities. Depending on the situation, a whistleblower might report to his or her supervisor, law enforcement, or a government agency.

State lawmakers passed the Texas Whistleblower Act in 1983 to encourage public employees to report illegal in-house activity or abuse. The Act shields employees from wrongful retaliation, suspension, and termination. For these protections to apply, the complainant must be able to prove the law violation.

Our Odessa employment lawyers can help you make the most of your whistleblower case because they understand the complexities of Texas business and employment law. If you are worried about employee retaliation and whistleblower protection in Odessa, our firm can advise you on the best course of action.

What Is Sabine Pilot?

Sabine Pilot is a judge-made law that derives from a 1985 Texas Supreme Court case, Sabine Pilot Service, Inc. v. Hauck. In this case, Michael Hauck contended that his former employer, Sabine Pilot, fired him because he refused to engage in criminal activity.

An officer for Sabine Pilot told Hauck, a deckhand, that part of his daily responsibilities included pumping bilges into the surrounding water. When Hauck later noticed a sign on the boat that said it was illegal to pump the bilges, he called the U.S. Coast Guard to inquire about the accuracy of the sign. A guardsman told Hauck that the placard was correct, so Hauck refused to pump the bilges, and Sabine Plot fired him as a result.

Though Sabine Pilot claimed that they terminated Hauck because of other “derelictions of duty,” like refusing to swab the deck, Hauck won his case, and the court deemed his firing illegal.

What Is a Sabine Pilot Claim Significant?

Sabine Pilot is a notable exception to the employment at will laws in Odessa and across Texas because it ensures that company superiors cannot force workers to violate legal and ethical boundaries. In his concurring opinion on the 1985 ruling, Texas Supreme Court Justice William Kilgarlin, wrote, “Allowing an employer to require an employee to break the law or face termination cannot help but promote a thorough disrespect for the laws and legal institutions of our society.“ In other words, the law is greater than a company’s policies or wishes.

If your firing is comparable to Michael Hauck’s, the Odessa employment lawyers of Carabin Shaw can guide you through the next legal steps. Our attorneys can help assess your damages and assemble a strong employment lawsuit on your behalf.

Contact Odessa Wrongful Termination Attorneys Today

At Carabin Shaw we agree with Justice Kilgarlin: filing a wrongful termination claim not only advocates for you but also for others who might be in a similar position. Taking advantage of the Texas Whistleblower Act or the Sabine Pilot doctrine ensures that our country’s laws remain strong and that the powerful cannot take advantage of others.

You should not have to navigate employee retaliation and whistleblower protection in Odessa alone. To secure back pay and benefits—and other damages, such as pain and suffering—call a lawyer today.

When you work with us, your first appointment is free, and we will not charge you unless we win your case.

To schedule a no-obligation consultation with a Carabin Shaw attorney, call our Odessa office at 432-242-2222 or toll-free at 1-800-862-1260.

Visits with the Attorney are by appointment only. Main office San Antonio, Texas.

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