Contracts Between an Injured Employee and His Employer to Waive Rights to Compensation are Void



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Texas Tech Law Review


In James v. Vernon Calhoun Packing Co., the court reaffirmed its interpretation of Section 14 of the Texas Workmen’s Compensation Act, holding any agreement by an employee to waive his rights to compensation is automatically void; therefore, parties to such an agreement cannot sue for breach of contract. The author suggests the James court, by sustaining its construction of Section 14, has applied the statute in derogation of its legislative purpose. Section 14 of the Texas Workmen’s Compensation Act, the author alleges, is designed to prevent the denial of recompense for injury and should be given a construction that will protect the employee from being denied compensation by an employer’s reliance on the statute. The interpretation protected in James, allows the employer to induce waiver of compensation during the period the claim survives even through the employer may know his agreement is unenforceable.



Section 14, Texas Workmen’s Compensation Act, Waiver, Compensation, Breach of contract, James v. Vernon Calhoun Packing Co., Case note


5 Tex. Tech L. Rev. 912