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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Scott A. McCarty filed suit against Van Independent School District under Chapter 451 of the Texas Labor Code, contending he was terminated in retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim. The district filed a plea to the jurisdiction asserting McCarty had not exhausted his administrative remedies, which the trial court denied. The district filed an interlocutory appeal. The court of appeals affirmed. HOLDING:The court reverses the court of appeals’ judgment and dismisses the case for want of jurisdiction. The court of appeals held that exhaustion of remedies was a prerequisite to the trial court’s jurisdiction, citing Wilmer-Hutchins Independent School District v. Sullivan, 51 S.W.3d 293, 294 (Tex. 2001). The court of appeals held that the district waived the exhaustion requirement when its board heard McCarty’s grievance and rendered a decision on the merits. The court relied on opinions by the Third Court of Appeals that a school board waives any objection to untimeliness by conducting an evidentiary hearing on an employee’s grievance. The board here expressly refused to waive the issue of timeliness. District policy allowed the parties to waive time deadlines “by mutual consent.” The court holds that the district did not waive its deadlines if the board heard some evidence on McCarty’s termination. Because the court of appeals’ opinion conflicts with Wilmer-Hutchins, this court has jurisdiction to correct that conflict. OPINION:Brister,J., delivered the court’s opinion. Jefferson, C.J., Hecht, Owen, Wainwright, Medina and Green, JJ., joined. Johnson, J., did not participate in the decision. DISSENT:O’Neill, J. “The Court, without the benefit of oral argument, summarily resolves an issue of first impression by holding that compliance with non-statutory administrative deadlines was a jurisdictional prerequisite to filing suit in this case. Moreover, the Court does so without acknowledging the impact of its holding. I believe that McCarty exhausted his administrative remedies by requesting the Board to hold a hearing on his grievance and to waive the non-statutory deadline for filing the request. I also believe that the purpose of the exhaustion requirement was satisfied in this case. Because I would hold that the district court had jurisdiction over McCarty’s retaliatory discharge claim, I respectfully dissent.”

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