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Internal complaint doesn’t equal whistle-blowing

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

The Texas Supreme Court has ruled that simply complaining to one’s boss about allegedly illegal activity is not whistle-blowing protected by the Texas Whistleblower Act. Employees must inform law enforcement.

Recent case: Ginger was an attorney for the Texas Office of the Attorney General. She told her boss that two senior attorneys tried to force her to sign a false affidavit about her interactions with a judge, but that she refused. Shortly afterward, she was fired.

Ginger sued, alleging her conversation with her supervisor amounted to whistle-blowing.

The Texas Supreme Court disagreed. It pointed out that the law requires reporting alleged illegality to a law enforcement entity that can actually do something about the complaint. Merely talking to a supervisor isn’t good enough to earn whistle-blower protection. (OAG v. Weatherspoon, No. 14-0582, Texas Supreme Court, 2015)

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