TWFC Accepts Retaliation Charges Regarding Emergency Evacuations

March 31, 2006

FEMA may not be the only government agency with which Texas employers may have to contend while attempting to recover from hurricane storm damage and business interruption. The Texas Workforce Commission, Civil Rights Division (“TWFC”) could cause employers a tidal surge size headache as well. A little known provision of the Texas Labor Code, Section 22.002, makes it unlawful for an employer to “discharge or in any other manner discriminate against an employee who leaves the employee’s place of employment to participate in a general public evacuation ordered under an emergency evacuation order” — which would include Hurricane Rita evacuation orders issued by Governor Perry or by the mayors of Galveston, Houston, Beaumont, etc. The section contains an exception allowing discharge of emergency services personnel who leave their post during such a crisis.

The TWFC has issued a press release informing the public of Chapter 22’s prohibition, modified its Intake Questionnaire to add “emergency evacuation” as a basis for discrimination, and begun accepting discrimination charges for alleged violations!

There are no reported cases interpreting Chapter 22. Presumably, it will be interpreted similarly with other discrimination statutes, e.g., as long as the discharge was motivated by legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons—including economic necessity, business interruption, etc. — there would be no violation. Stay tuned!

Firm Highlights


Thompson Coe Saves Client $100Ks in Damages After 3-Day Trial


The Tale of OCS and the Coronavirus

How has Opportunity Community Services survived during this pandemic and Phase 1? Rose Kukwa of Opportunity Community Services and Dennis Van Norman with Van Norman & Associates share their experience.  Rose and her team...


COVID-19 Response Team - Resources and Updates



Individual Coverage HRA. What is it? What are the benefits and drawbacks? What companies are a good fit for ICHRAs versus group health plans? Kevin talks with Matt Hollister, President and CEO of Business...


U.S. Supreme Court Settles Issue of Title VII Protections for LGBTQ+ Employees

Headshot of Stephanie Rojo
News Item

Thompson Coe Welcomes Partners Kenya Bodden and Patrick Kelly


The 2020 HR Recap

We’ve made it to the recap episode! The good, the bad, the ugly, and everything in between. Join Kevin and Elaine (Lainey) Luthens as they discuss it all including FFCRA legislation, OSHA, what they...


Supreme Court Reaffirms and Clarifies Ministerial Exception to Employment Discrimination Laws Under First Amendment’s Religion Clause


The COVID-19 Vaccine Part 1


The Importance of Strategic Transitions

Transitions versus change, what’s the destination and why is this important for a business?  Kevin talks with Gwen Gierke from Gierke Jungbauer on how they help to manage transitions. Transition happens in three stages: the ending, the neutral zone, and...