Subscribe to receive our Floor Reports covering all the action on the Texas House and Senate floor!
Senate Bill 664 would allow an employer to terminate a contract with an employee if he determines that the employee, in order to obtain employment with the employer or any benefit linked to the employment, has either lied about or misrepresented any information regarding a military record in a way that would constitute an offense under Section 32.54 of the Penal code. In such a case, the contract becomes void and unenforceable.
The employee would have the option to appeal the decision and ask for appropriate relief if the employee estimates he was wrongfully terminated.
The second chamber sponsor is Representative Kenneth Sheets.
An amendment has been introduced on the Senate floor, and adopted, since we reported on Senate Bill 664. The amendment would change the wording authorizing an employer to discharge an employee if the employer would determine, based on a reasonable factual basis (as opposed to a reasonable belief, in the bill as filed), that the employee lied about or falsified the employee's military record.
This amendment does not fundamentally change the intent of this bill. As a consequence, we continue to support it.
First chamber recommendation:
Texas is an at-will-employment state which means that under current law an employer can already discharge - with or without cause - an employee he suspects has used false military record information to gain employment. Senate Bill 664 would strengthen any employer's right to terminate a contract with such an employee since it recognizes such a case as a cause for the termination of an employment contract by an employer.
Senate Bill 664 would encourage personal responsibility by discouraging the falsification of a military record in order to gain employment or benefits related to employment that are sometimes reserved for veterans. Indeed, such a violation of the law (an offense under the Texas Penal code) would have the potential to make the employee lose his job, as well as to disqualify him from receiving unemployment benefits ("Discharge for Misconduct," Sec. 207.044 of the Labor Code). Senate Bill 664 hence recognizes that unemployment benefits should only help individuals that find themselves out of work due to no fault of their own.
As a consequence, we support Senate Bill 664.