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  S.B. No. 182
 
 
 
 
AN ACT
  relating to the required report of criminal offenses committed
  against individuals receiving certain state agency services;
  creating a criminal offense.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Subchapter C, Chapter 40, Human Resources Code,
  is amended by adding Sections 40.082 and 40.083 to read as follows:
         Sec. 40.082.  REPORT OF CRIMINAL CONDUCT; PENALTY. (a)  Each
  employee of the department or of a department contractor who
  becomes aware of conduct constituting a criminal offense engaged in
  by another employee of the department or by a department contractor
  against a person receiving services from the department or a
  department contractor shall report the conduct to a local law
  enforcement agency not later than the 48th hour after the hour the
  employee becomes aware of the conduct.
         (b)  A person commits an offense if the person is required to
  make a report under Subsection (a) and knowingly fails to make the
  report.
         (c)  An offense under Subsection (b) is a Class A
  misdemeanor, except that the offense is a state jail felony if it is
  shown on the trial of the offense that the actor intended to hinder
  an investigation of or conceal the criminal conduct described by
  Subsection (a).
         Sec. 40.083.  EMPLOYER RETALIATION PROHIBITED. (a)  In this
  section, "adverse employment action" means an action that affects
  an employee's compensation, promotion, transfer, work assignment,
  or performance evaluation, or any other employment action that
  would dissuade a reasonable employee from submitting or supporting
  a report under Section 40.082.
         (b)  An employer may not suspend or terminate the employment
  of, discriminate against, or take any other adverse employment
  action against a person who in good faith:
               (1)  reports conduct constituting a criminal offense as
  required by Section 40.082; or
               (2)  initiates or cooperates with an investigation or
  proceeding relating to the conduct constituting a criminal offense
  reported under Section 40.082.
         (c)  An employee may sue for injunctive relief, damages, or
  both if, in violation of this section, the employee:
               (1)  is suspended or terminated from the person's
  employment;
               (2)  is discriminated against; or
               (3)  suffers any other adverse employment action.
         (d)  A plaintiff who prevails in a suit under this section
  may recover:
               (1)  actual damages, including damages for mental
  anguish even if an injury other than mental anguish is not shown;
               (2)  exemplary damages under Chapter 41, Civil Practice
  and Remedies Code, if the employer is a private employer;
               (3)  court costs; and
               (4)  reasonable attorney's fees.
         (e)  In addition to amounts recovered under Subsection (d), a
  plaintiff who prevails in a suit under this section is entitled to:
               (1)  reinstatement to the person's former position or a
  comparable position in terms of compensation, benefits, and other
  conditions of employment;
               (2)  reinstatement of any fringe benefits and seniority
  rights lost because of the suspension, termination, or
  discrimination; and
               (3)  compensation for wages lost during the period of
  suspension or termination.
         (f)  A department employee who alleges a violation of this
  section may sue the department for the relief provided for by this
  section. Sovereign immunity is waived and abolished to the extent
  of liability created by this section.
         (g)  A plaintiff suing under this section has the burden of
  proof, except there is a rebuttable presumption that the
  plaintiff's employment was suspended or terminated or that the
  plaintiff was otherwise discriminated against for reporting abuse
  or neglect if the suspension, termination, or discrimination occurs
  before the 61st day after the date on which the person submitted a
  report in good faith.
         (h)  A suit under this section may be brought in a district or
  statutory county court of the county in which:
               (1)  the plaintiff was employed by the defendant; or
               (2)  the defendant conducts business.
         (i)  It is an affirmative defense to a suit under Subsection
  (c) that an employer would have taken against the employee the
  action that forms the basis of the suit based solely on information,
  observation, or evidence unrelated to the fact that the employee
  made a report under Section 40.082 or initiated or cooperated with
  an investigation or proceeding relating to the conduct constituting
  a criminal offense reported under Section 40.082.
         (j)  A public employee who has a cause of action under
  Chapter 554, Government Code, based on conduct described by
  Subsection (b) may not bring an action based on that conduct under
  this section.
         (k)  This section does not apply to a person who reports the
  person's own criminal conduct or who initiates or cooperates with
  an investigation or proceeding by a governmental entity relating to
  an allegation of the person's own criminal conduct.
         SECTION 2.  Chapter 203, Human Resources Code, is amended by
  adding Sections 203.020 and 203.021 to read as follows:
         Sec. 203.020.  REPORT OF CRIMINAL CONDUCT; PENALTY. (a)  
  Each employee of the department or of a department contractor who
  becomes aware of conduct constituting a criminal offense engaged in
  by another employee of the department or by a department contractor
  against a person receiving services from the department or a
  department contractor shall report the conduct to a local law
  enforcement agency not later than the 48th hour after the hour the
  employee becomes aware of the conduct.
         (b)  A person commits an offense if the person is required to
  make a report under Subsection (a) and knowingly fails to make the
  report.
         (c)  An offense under Subsection (b) is a Class A
  misdemeanor, except that the offense is a state jail felony if it is
  shown on the trial of the offense that the actor intended to hinder
  an investigation of or conceal the criminal conduct described by
  Subsection (a).
         Sec. 203.021.  EMPLOYER RETALIATION PROHIBITED. (a)  In
  this section, "adverse employment action" means an action that
  affects an employee's compensation, promotion, transfer, work
  assignment, or performance evaluation, or any other employment
  action that would dissuade a reasonable employee from submitting or
  supporting a report under Section 203.020.
         (b)  An employer may not suspend or terminate the employment
  of, discriminate against, or take any other adverse employment
  action against a person who in good faith:
               (1)  reports conduct constituting a criminal offense as
  required by Section 203.020; or
               (2)  initiates or cooperates with an investigation or
  proceeding relating to the conduct constituting a criminal offense
  reported under Section 203.020.
         (c)  An employee may sue for injunctive relief, damages, or
  both if, in violation of this section, the employee:
               (1)  is suspended or terminated from the person's
  employment;
               (2)  is discriminated against; or
               (3)  suffers any other adverse employment action.
         (d)  A plaintiff who prevails in a suit under this section
  may recover:
               (1)  actual damages, including damages for mental
  anguish even if an injury other than mental anguish is not shown;
               (2)  exemplary damages under Chapter 41, Civil Practice
  and Remedies Code, if the employer is a private employer;
               (3)  court costs; and
               (4)  reasonable attorney's fees.
         (e)  In addition to amounts recovered under Subsection (d), a
  plaintiff who prevails in a suit under this section is entitled to:
               (1)  reinstatement to the person's former position or a
  comparable position in terms of compensation, benefits, and other
  conditions of employment;
               (2)  reinstatement of any fringe benefits and seniority
  rights lost because of the suspension, termination, or
  discrimination; and
               (3)  compensation for wages lost during the period of
  suspension or termination.
         (f)  A department employee who alleges a violation of this
  section may sue the department for the relief provided for by this
  section. Sovereign immunity is waived and abolished to the extent
  of liability created by this section.
         (g)  A plaintiff suing under this section has the burden of
  proof, except there is a rebuttable presumption that the
  plaintiff's employment was suspended or terminated or that the
  plaintiff was otherwise discriminated against for reporting abuse
  or neglect if the suspension, termination, or discrimination occurs
  before the 61st day after the date on which the person submitted a
  report in good faith.
         (h)  A suit under this section may be brought in a district or
  statutory county court of the county in which:
               (1)  the plaintiff was employed by the defendant; or
               (2)  the defendant conducts business.
         (i)  It is an affirmative defense to a suit under Subsection
  (c) that an employer would have taken against the employee the
  action that forms the basis of the suit based solely on information,
  observation, or evidence unrelated to the fact that the employee
  made a report under Section 203.020 or initiated or cooperated with
  an investigation or proceeding relating to the conduct constituting
  a criminal offense reported under Section 203.020.
         (j)  A public employee who has a cause of action under
  Chapter 554, Government Code, based on conduct described by
  Subsection (b) may not bring an action based on that conduct under
  this section.
         (k)  This section does not apply to a person who reports the
  person's own criminal conduct or who initiates or cooperates with
  an investigation or proceeding by a governmental entity relating to
  an allegation of the person's own criminal conduct.
         SECTION 3.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2023.
 
 
 
 
 
  ______________________________ ______________________________
     President of the Senate Speaker of the House     
 
         I hereby certify that S.B. No. 182 passed the Senate on
  April 3, 2023, by the following vote: Yeas 31, Nays 0; and that
  the Senate concurred in House amendment on May 22, 2023, by the
  following vote: Yeas 31, Nays 0.
 
 
  ______________________________
  Secretary of the Senate    
 
         I hereby certify that S.B. No. 182 passed the House, with
  amendment, on May 16, 2023, by the following vote: Yeas 126,
  Nays 14, one present not voting.
 
 
  ______________________________
  Chief Clerk of the House   
 
 
 
  Approved:
 
  ______________________________ 
              Date
 
 
  ______________________________ 
            Governor