06 Jul 2020

Understanding Wrongful Termination in Texas

Houston wrongful termination attorney
A Houston employment law firm discusses wrongful termination

As a top Houston employment law firm, we feel that it is vital for employees to understand their rights. This post is for educational purposes and does not constitute legal advice. Wrongful termination claims are a very real matter with serious consequences. When you feel your termination was unjust, contact our wrongful termination lawyers for a free consultation. 

What Qualifies As Wrongful Termination in Texas? 

Whether you are a business owner or an employee, you know the risks when a business fires an employee. While no one is happy about losing their jobs, certain situations constitute wrongful termination. When you feel that your firing was unjust, it’s important to understand what qualifies as wrongful termination in Texas. 

In the state of Texas, employment is on an at-will basis. Generally, this means an employer or worker has the right to end their working relationship at any time. This does not require any notice or reason. However, there are certain exceptions to the rule. 

What Is At-Will Employment? 

The basic rule of Texas employment is the “employment at will” doctrine. This means that without an express agreement (ie. written contract), the employer and employee both have the right to end or change the terms and conditions of employment. This can be at any time and for any reason, including no particular reason at all and with or without notice. 

Discrimination Laws and Exceptions to At-Will Employment 

Texas state law dictates that there are common law exceptions and court-ruling exceptions to at-will employment. According to the Texas Workforce Commission, an example of wrongful termination is when an employer fires an employee because they refuse to commit a criminal offense. Similarly, an employer cannot fire an employee if it violates the express employment agreement the worker has with the company. Per a court ruling, a company cannot suddenly terminate an employee for violating a policy they do not have a history of enforcing. 

As Houston EEOC lawyers, we want you to understand that there are also statutory exceptions to at-will employment in Texas. Per the Texas Workforce Commission, it is a wrongful discharge when a company fires an employee based on certain state and federal laws and discrimination statutes. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission covers complaints regarding these statutes, which include:

  • Race
  • Skin color 
  • National origin
  • Religion 
  • Age 
  • Gender
  • Disability

An EEOC lawyer will help you file a claim against wrongful termination based on race, nationality, etc. These statutes prohibit employers from firing employees on the basis of discrimination. Houston employment lawyers can fight as your advocate to file a wrongful termination suit. 

Furthermore, wrongful termination may include a worker fired for reporting suspected wrongdoing. It may also include an employee who has filed a complaint with regards to workers’ compensation, discrimination, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. This may also constitute retaliation, in which an employer fires an employee based on a falsehood. 

Missing a substantial period of time from work may be grounds for termination. However, jury duty or military service are statutory exceptions to the at-will employment doctrine of Texas. 

Are You a Victim of Wrongful Termination? 

While this post provides an overview of wrongful termination in Texas, our Houston employment law firm understands that every case is unique. Therefore, this post should not be taken as legal advice. Our wrongful termination lawyers want you, as a Texas worker, to understand the general information of wrongful discharges. 

Employment discrimination and wrongful termination cases can be won, but the employee must prove that the employer acted with an illegal motivation. If you believe that you are the victim of a wrongful discharge and discrimination, contact our employment law firm today. When we believe an employee is fired for the wrong reasons, we can review their employment contract and help them fight to protect their rights. Contact us for a free consultation today!