Being terminated from your job is never easy, but it can be devastating if you are wrongfully terminated in violation of Texas and federal laws. This can cause emotional trauma, loss of financial support and medical benefits, and deprivation of career advancement possibilities. Fortunately, you may be able to recover your losses through a wrongful termination lawsuit against your employer.
Unlawful Terminations Under Texas and Federal Employment Laws
Like other states, Texas follows the at-will employment doctrine. This means that employers can terminate employees for any or no reason, no matter how arbitrary or irrational the firing is. However, employers in Texas must follow state and federal laws protecting employees, and there are exceptions to the at-will doctrine which can make a termination illegal. Here are some of the exceptions that could give rise to a wrongful termination claim:
- Breach of contract. While many employees do not have an employment contract with their employer, an employment contract is common for executives, high-level sales employees, physicians, and other professionals. These contracts may limit the employer’s rights to terminate an employee. If you have a contract with your employer, you may have a breach of contract claim if you are wrongfully fired.
- Discrimination. Under both Texas and federal civil rights laws, it is illegal to terminate employees for discriminatory reasons. It is illegal to fire an employee based on age, citizen status, race, disability, genetic information, national origin, color, pregnancy, religion, or sex.
- Retaliation. Employers are prohibited from firing an employee for asserting a legal right. Some of these protected rights include filing a discrimination or harassment complaint, exercising rights under the Family Medical Leave Act, complaining about a workplace safety issue, filing a workers’ compensation claim, being a whistle blower, and engaging in union activities. It is also illegal to retaliate against an employee who supports a co-worker pursuing one of these protected rights.
- Harassment. Many types of behaviors may be illegal harassment by an employer. Applying double standards to employees, setting impossible performance expectations, and excluding employees from meetings are a few of the ways that employers harass employees. An employee who feels forced to quit his job may be constructively terminated—which is grounds for a wrongful termination claim.
- Refusal to perform criminal act. In Texas, it is illegal for an employer to fire a worker after asking the employee to perform a criminal act and the employee refuses to do so.
- Taking protected time off. Under Texas and federal laws, employees have a right to take time off for jury duty, to vote, under the Family Medical Leave Act, and for military service. If an employee is terminated for exercising these rights, he may have a wrongful termination case against his employer.
Were you wrongfully terminated from your job? Our experienced employment law attorney, Walt Taylor, is here to explain your legal rights and to fight for the compensation you deserve. Please feel free to contact Walt online or call him directly at 817.380.4888 to schedule your free consultation.
We help workers throughout Texas including Arlington, North Richland, Grapevine, Bedford, Hurst, Euless, Irving and all points in between.