Texas Supreme Court Decision Eliminates Workers Rights

Survivors of recent industrial accidents including the 2005 BP blast in Texas City that killed 15, joined Labor and Consumer Leaders in urging Legisaltors to overturn a recent ruling by the Texas Supreme Court regarding a workplace injury case. Pat Hernandez has the story.
The unanimous decision by the state's highest court enables plant owners to shield themselves from liability to emplyees of third party contractors for workplace unjuries under the current texas workers' compensation laws. Rick Levy, legal director for the Texas AFL-CIO likes the ruling to a "get out of jail free card" to some of the largest corporations in Texas:

"What it held was that, an injured worker can't sue their employer. They get income benefits, they get medical care etc, designed to bridge the gap between the time that they were injured and the time that they can get back to work."

He says the decision extends that immunity to premise owners, saying to workers that if you get hurt even while you're on their property, regardless of whether you can show negligence on the part of the company...you cannot sue. Alex Winslow is executive director of the consumer advocacy group Texas Watch:

"The Supreme Court decision means that corporate wrongdoers who knowingly put Texas workers at risk will be able to escape accountability."

Victims from the 2005 BP blast and several people injured from a recent accident in Corpus Christi were in Austin to ask lawmakers to fix the Texas Supreme Court decision that eliminates the rights of Texas workers.

Pat Hernandez, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.

Pat Hernandez

Reporter

Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...