In Texas, Can I Sue If I Was Fired From My Job?
Arguably, one of the worst experiences you can face is being told you’ve been let go from your job, and even worse, being let go for something entirely out of your control. Often times, you’re left scrambling to help find another job and unable to really ever shake the feeling wondering if your termination was right, or even legal.
QUESTION: So CAN you sue your employer if you’re fired from your job?
ANSWER: Yes and no. It really depends on the situation.
What is “At-Will” Employment?
In Employment Law terms, Texas is what is called an “at-will” employment state, meaning an employer can terminate an employee for a variety of reasons or even no reason at all. Often times, the comical example used to demonstrate this is that in Texas, you can be fired for coming into work wearing a red clown nose.
“At-Will” employment states, such as Texas, give employers more breadth to terminate an employee with or without reason and with or without warning. The practice is also predicated on an employee’s similar right to terminate their own employment with or without reason and with or without warning.
QUESTION: Does that mean that my employer can terminate me for ANY reason?
“At-will” employment DOES NOT allow employers to terminate employees for any illegal reasons. Here are a few scenarios in which you can potentially file a wrongful termination lawsuit in Texas:
You Can Sue If You Were Fired Due To Discrimination
The Civil Rights Act of 1964’s Title VII lists certain protected personal categories or “classes” that are protected by law from being used as a reason for termination. These classes include race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.
The Texas Labor Code also has similar employment laws making it illegal to terminate anyone using these classes are a reason for termination.
Currently, Texas does not have laws that include termination protections for LGBTQ members. Recently, however, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency who enforces Title VII, has begun accepting discrimination complaints regarding gender identity and sexual orientation. However, these interpretations are far from settled and have been interpreted differently in a variety of Texas courts.
You Can Sue If You Were Fired For Filing A Discrimination Complaint
Title VII laws extend to protect not only if the victim of discrimination files a complaint and gets fired, but also protects those who AREN’T the victim of discrimination and who are fired for filing a complaint.
You Can Sue If You Were Fired For Refusing Sexual Advances or For Filing A Sexual Harassment Complaint
In the wake of the #metoo movement, sexual harassment in the workplace has, rightfully so, taken a much larger public interest than in years passed. Sexual harassment can come in a multitude of forms, so it is important to recognize these signs.
Forms of workplace sexual harassment include:
- Actual or attempted rape or sexual assault.
- Unwanted pressure for sexual favors.
- Unwanted deliberate touching, leaning over, cornering, or pinching.
- Unwanted sexual looks or gestures.
- Unwanted letters, telephone calls, or materials of a sexual nature.
- Unwanted pressure for dates.
- Unwanted sexual teasing, jokes, remarks, or questions.
Again, similarly, employment law protections extend to victims who file sexual harassment complaints and are fired or other non-victims who report sexual harassment.
You Can Sue If You Were Fired For Filing A Worker’s Compensation Claim
Not a lot of people know this, however, if you are injured on the job and discouraged and subsequently for filing a worker’s compensation claim, Texas law can step in to compensate the wrongfully terminated employee.
These types of situations often occur on worksites, construction sites, and to those working in the oil fields. In many examples, when an employee is hurt and files a worker’s compensation claim, their company stops calling them to go out on jobs or places them on “on-call” until the employee is basically “phased-out” from work.
What Should I Do If I’ve Been Fired?
For those looking to file a wrongful termination lawsuit against their employer, you must first consider whether your termination falls under any of the above-provided examples of wrongful termination. If you believe that it does, you should contact an experienced wrongful termination lawyer immediately.
After you have hired a wrongful termination lawyer to begin your case, you will need to partner with them to ensure that your case is viable by being upfront, honest, and detailed about your termination as possible. Additionally, be prepared to provide your wrongful termination lawyer with any evidence such as documents, emails, text messages, etc. so that they may begin building up your wrongful termination case. Also, be aware that gathering witnesses may also be extremely vital for your wrongful termination case.
Hire The McAllen Wrongful Termination Lawyer Today
If you feel that you have been fired wrongfully, call the McAllen wrongful termination lawyers at Moore Law Firm today for your FAST and FREE consultation!