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.
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 which would create criminal liability under the laws of Texas or the United States. A refusal to violate a statute which would only create civil liability is not covered.
Texas does not recognize a cause of action for wrongful termination when an 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 employees.
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 hadn’t made the claim, you would not have been terminated. A qualified Texas lawyer can provided you more information if there is a legal basis for a claim.
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Last Modified: 09-06-2012 08:52 AM PDT
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