Texas agencies use emergency leave to keep ex-workers quiet


AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Several state agencies are sidestepping Texas law by keeping employees on the payroll months after they've left their jobs as part of deals that in many cases are designed to keep former employees quiet.

At least seven former workers at the Teacher Retirement System were given as much as six months of paid "emergency leave" in exchange for signing documents promising not to discuss the deals or sue the agency.

Records obtained by The Dallas Morning News show the attorney general's office and Health and Human Services Commission are among other state agencies using this once obscure benefit to settle employment disputes.

Emergency leave is meant to give workers a financial cushion of a few days' pay in the event of a death in the family or other extraordinary event.

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