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State code protects only those who officially report abuse

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

Texas nursing home employees who report alleged patient abuse to state authorities are protected from retaliation under the Texas Health and Safety Code—but only if they formally report the problem.

Recent case: A resident told nursing home manager Tammy Johnson about alleged patient abuse. Johnson informed her supervisor, who ordered Johnson to investigate and get statements from everyone potentially involved.

Johnson contacted the Texas Board of Nurse Examiners, but didn’t name the patient, facility or nurse involved.

The next day, Johnson was temporarily suspended, allegedly because she hadn’t completed the investigation.

She was reinstated 10 days later, but had by then sued for retaliation. But the court tossed out her case because she never filed an official report with a Texas agency. (Johnson v. Diversicare, et al., No. 08-20827, 5th Cir., 2010)

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