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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:The appellant, Joseph Earl Cavender, sued the appellee, Houston Distributing Company Inc., for wrongful termination of his employment in violation of Texas Labor Code 451.001. A jury found in favor of appellee, and the trial court rendered judgment that appellant take nothing. HOLDING:Affirmed. The appellant presents a single issue on appeal: “Houston Distributing Company, Inc. violated Joseph Earl Cavender’s rights, under Texas Labor Code 451.001, as a matter of law.” Section 451.001 provides in pertinent part: “A person may not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against an employee because the employee has: 1. filed a workers’ compensation claim in good faith . . . .” Appellant reasons as follows: appellant was discharged for having missed more than 180 consecutive days from work; the only reason appellant missed more than 180 consecutive days from work was that he was on workers’ compensation leave due to his injury; therefore, appellant was discharged because he applied for workers’ compensation benefits. The Texas Supreme Court has held that “[u]niform enforcement of a reasonable absence-control provision . . . does not constitute retaliatory discharge.” Tex. Division-Tranter Inc. v. Carrozza, 876 S.W.2d 312 (Tex. 1994). Appellant cites Continental Coffee Products Co. v. Cazarez, a case that also involved termination for violation of a three-day rule. 937 S.W.2d 444 (Tex. 1996). Appellant quotes Cazarez, which states, “The three-day rule did not apply while Cazarez was on compensation leave” and “The three-day rule applies to employees receiving workers’ compensation benefits as soon as they are released to return to work by their treating physician.” Appellant interprets these statements as legal rulings of the court. They are not, the court states; rather, they further explain the three-day rule as applied by the employer, Continental. Nevertheless, based on his incorrect premise, the appellant argues that “it appears that the Court would follow the opinion of the Attorney General of Texas and the holdings of other jurisdictions that an employer cannot terminate an employee for the sole reason that the employee misses time from work while on worker’s compensation leave.” Appellant cites no Texas cases to support his argument. Nothing in the supreme court’s opinions in Cazarez and Carrozza indicates that the court would limit its holding to absence-control provisions outside workers’ compensation leave. In fact, in Carrozza, the court cited, with approval, two Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ cases in which the plaintiffs were discharged, while on workers’ compensation leave, as a result of the enforcement of an absence-control policy. OPINION:Nuchia, J.;, Nuchia, Alcala and Higley, JJ.

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