Rachel Bethel
Austin/Houston Employment Trial Lawyer Rachel Bethel


In nursing, anti-retaliation laws can play a pivotal role in shaping professional conduct, ensuring patient safety, protecting nurses, and maintaining the integrity of the nursing profession. One critical provision is the Texas Occupations Code § 301. This chapter, called the Nursing Practice Act, enumerates legal protections for nurses when reporting violations of professional standards. This blog delves into the specifics of these protections and the important implications they may have for nurses.

Overview of Tex. Occ. Code Chapter 301, the Nursing Practice Act

Texas Occupations Code § 301.4025(b) provides:

A nurse may report to the nurse’s employer or another entity at which the nurse is authorized to practice any situation that the nurse has reasonable cause to believe exposes a patient to substantial risk of harm as a result of a failure to provide patient care that conforms to minimum standards of acceptable and prevailing professional practice or to statutory, regulatory, or accreditation standards. For purposes of this subsection, an employer or entity includes an employee or agent of the employer or entity.

Notably, Texas Occupations Code § 301.4025(c) further states:

A person may not suspend or terminate the employment of, or otherwise discipline, discriminate against, or retaliate against, a person who: (1) reports in good faith under this section; or (2) advises a nurse of the nurse’s right to report under this section.

Finally, § 301.413(e) provides that if a nurse is “suspended, terminated, or otherwise disciplined, discriminated against, or retaliated against within 60 days after the date the report, refusal, or request was made or the advice was given,” the nurse has a rebuttable presumption that the employer’s action was retaliatory.  

Key Takeaways

1.     Good Faith Reports: When a nurse makes a 301.4025(b) report, so long as he believes that the report was required or authorized and there was a reasonable factual or legal basis for the belief, his report will be deemed a good faith report.

2.     Enhanced Patient Safety: This Act is crucial in fostering a culture of transparency and accountability in medical environments. Nurses should feel empowered to advocate for their patients’ safety and well-being, without fear of legal repercussions. Nurses are often the first to notice potential risks of harm as they monitor their patients’ conditions. Allowing them to speak up creates a far safer environment for those most vulnerable.

3.     Professional Accountability: This Act reminds all medical providers to adhere to the minimum standards of acceptable and prevailing professional practice. Encouraging nurses to speak up fosters accountability and trust in medical settings. Nurses should be able to report anyone without fear of retaliation, even if that person is a supervising physician or nurse practitioner.

4.     Retaliation Comes in Many Forms: Nurses can experience retaliation in myriad forms. These include suspensions, terminations, arbitrary investigations, and other forms of discipline. Nurses should be vigilant of any such adverse actions, as they may be unlawful forms of retaliation.

Challenges and Considerations

While the intent of § 301.4025(b) is clear, its implementation can be challenging. Nurses might fear retaliation or damaging workplace relationships, which could deter them from reporting. Hospitals may find pretextual reasons to punish nurses as well. Medical institutions must create supportive environments where nurses feel safe and encouraged to report concerns, no matter what. Educating nurses on their rights and the importance of this Act can mitigate some of these challenges.


Tex. Occ. Code § 301 plays a crucial role in upholding medical standards and protecting workers in Texas. Nurses, healthcare institutions, and administrative bodies within must work collaboratively to ensure that this provision is effectively implemented, ultimately enhancing the quality of care and safety for patients across the state.

If you think that you have been retaliated against for making a protected report in Dallas, do contact our firm for a consultation.

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What do you like most about being an employment lawyer?

The best part of being an employment lawyer is being there for people who are facing some of the worst times in their lives. I enjoy counseling my clients and reminding them that…

What do you like most about being an employment lawyer?

The best part of being an employment lawyer is being there for people who are facing some of the worst times in their lives. I enjoy counseling my clients and reminding them that they are not alone. The fact that I then get to use my legal training to help improve their situation is an immensely rewarding feeling.

What kind of clients do you like best?

Clients who are professional and focused on succeeding in their case tend to be the easiest to work with. It is especially helpful when clients are willing to prepare and get all their relevant documents and information in order.

What labor and employment issues do you think are currently trending?

It is encouraging to see that Texas passed the CROWN Act in 2023; it just went into effect in September. Less than half of the country has passed a similar bill, so this is a legal frontier in its nascent stages.

Who is your favorite Supreme Court Justice?


What is your favorite legal movie?

On the Basis of Sex

Besides Rob Wiley, P.C., what is the most interesting job that you have had?

I had a brief stint as a preschool teacher, and it was the best job ever. My students were the cutest stress relievers I could have ever asked for.

What is your favorite food?


What’s the best part of living in Dallas, TX?

Being close to my family again after 11 years away in DC. Dallas has changed so much since I was growing up. It is way more diverse now and has a very solid food scene.

What skills do you value as an employment attorney?

I think the three main skills you need to be a good employment attorney are reading (tons of cases, briefs, motions, etc.), writing (complaints, oppositions, motions, etc.), and having the emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills to interact with clients, witnesses, mediators, judges, deponents, court clerks, opposing counsel, etc. The role requires a lot of interacting with people in various roles with varying goals. An employment attorney needs to know how to approach every conversation appropriately.

Have you ever learned something from one of your clients?

Every single day. In listening to my clients, I obtain additional data points on how Defendants or Respondents operate in different corporate or governmental settings. Every case is different. Each charge, claim, or lawsuit begins with a story, and that story belongs to the client. Clients know all the contours of their workplace and the relevant personalities far better than their lawyer ever will. If clients are empowered to know what is going on in their case from the start, they can offer a wealth of knowledge, insight, and perspective to help their lawyer succeed. Clients may not know all the legalese and jargon involved, but once they are steered in the right direction, they know where to look or who to talk with to get the most critical information. The more a lawyer listens to the client, the more the lawyer learns each time.