The Texas State Statute Prohibiting Discrimination Because of an Evacuation

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In Texas, employers may not discharge or otherwise 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." Tex. Labor Code § 22.002. The definition of an emergency evacuation order includes an official statement issued by a governmental entity to "recommend the evacuation of all or part of the population of an area stricken or threatened with a disaster." Tex. Labor Code § 22.001(2)(emphasis added). The statute creates liability for the loss of wages or benefits (e.g., vacation pay) incurred by the employee as a result of the violation. Tex. Labor Code § 22.003. There is an exemption for emergency services personnel (police, firefighters, EMTs, or those whose employment involves providing "services for the benefit of the general public during emergency situations") if the employer provides adequate emergency shelter. Tex. Labor Code § 22.004.

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