86(R) - 2019
Relating to the employment of certain peace officers, detention officers, county jailers, or firefighters who are injured in the course and scope of duty.
No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
This bill would prohibit police officers, jailers, and firefighters from being discharged, suspended, or terminated based on the person's ability to perform the job because of injury sustained on the job until the person is certified as reaching maximum medical improvement unless the report from a doctor indicates the person is unable to return to work. Employers in violation would be subject to reasonable damages up to $100,000. A person found to be wrongfully discharged would be entitled to be restored to their former position of employment. The burden of proof in a related suit would be placed on the person claiming wrongful discharge.
Vote Recommendation Notes
This is an unfunded mandate on the employment practices of local governments and has the potential to harm smaller governments that cannot financially bear the burden this bill would place on them. For example, under this legislation a small municipal police force may be required to maintain on payroll an injured officer unable to discharge his duties but not be able to afford to hire a replacement officer due to budget constraints. This would lead to an understaffed police force until such indeterminate time as the injured officer reaches maximum medical improvement. The state should not place local governments in this position with a one-size-fits-all policy that may not be workable everywhere. For these reasons we oppose HB 359.