Wrongful Termination in Texas

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Wrongful Termination in Texas

In Texas, as a general rule, employment is "at-will." This means that an employer can terminate an employee for any reason, no matter how arbitrary or irrational, or no reason at all.

Illegal Act Exception

As in most other states, the general right to terminate employees for any reason at all is not absolute.

While a cause of action for wrongful termination does exist, it is far narrower than in other states. In Texas, an employee has a cause of action for wrongful termination only when he or she is fired for refusing to perform an illegal act. "Illegal act" means any action that would create criminal liability under the laws of Texas or the United States. A refusal to violate a statute that would only create civil liability is not covered.

Note that simply reporting an illegal act may not be sufficient. Texas does not recognize a cause of action for wrongful termination when a private employee reports illegal activity on the part of the employer, and is fired for that reason. However, such protections do exist in Texas for public (i.e. government) employees.

Workers’ Compensation Exception

In Texas, an employee may not be fired for making a claim for workers’ compensation. You have to show, however, that your claim for workers’ compensation was a necessary precursor to your termination. That is, you have to show that if you had not made the claim, you would not have been terminated.

Consulting an Attorney

A qualified Texas lawyer can provided you more information if there is a legal basis for a claim. A lawyer can help you navigate the legal system and help you recover monetary damages.

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Last Modified: 02-19-2014 12:11 PM PST

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