Wrongful Termination Lawyer Houston and Austin, TX
Texas is an “employment at-will” state. Generally, employment at-will means that employers can fire an employee for any legal reason at any time. However, this does mean an employer can fire employees for any reason. If an employer terminates an employee for an illegal reason, this is called a “wrongful termination.” Wrongful termination encompasses a number of cases, including the following.
- Situations in which the employer breaks the terms of the employee’s contract by firing him or her.
- If the firing is motivated by illegal discrimination.
- When the employer retaliates against a worker who files a workers’ compensation claim.
- If the firing is meant to serve as retaliation against a whistleblower complaint or an employee who refuses to perform an illegal act.
The laws that govern these claims often require that an employee file a claim within a certain amount of time and often with a particular state or federal agency. If the employee does not file in time, he or she may not be able to take the case to court. To ensure that your rights are protected, it is important that you contact an experienced wrongful termination lawyer Houston and Austin, TX. Contact the Leichter Law Firm by calling (512) 495-9995 to see how a qualified lawyer can help you receive the compensation you deserve.
What Is Wrongful Termination in Texas?
In order to constitute a wrongful termination claim, an employer must fire an employee for a reason that is illegal. For example, violating anti-discrimination laws or breaching an employment contract are both illegal. Therefore, employers firing people for either of those reasons could face wrongful termination lawsuits.
A wrongful termination lawsuit can also arise for other illegal reasons, such as age discrimination, disability discrimination, FMLA retaliation, pregnancy discrimination, sex discrimination, whistleblower retaliation, and race discrimination. If you have been wrongfully terminated by your employer, contact an experienced wrongful termination attorney as soon as possible.
An Austin wrongful termination attorney with Leichter Law is here to ensure that your voice is heard and your rights are protected under state and federal laws. We have extensive experience recovering compensation for workers who file wrongful termination claims. Don’t hesitate to fight for your legal rights – call us today for a free consultation.
Can You Sue for Wrongful Termination in Texas?
Yes, absolutely. However, there are other steps you may need to take before you can file a lawsuit in court. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your termination, you may be required to submit a complaint to a government agency first. If the reasons behind your termination are deemed unlawful, you can then bring a lawsuit under Texas law.
If you believe that your employer wrongfully terminated you, you may be able to file a lawsuit against them to recover compensation. In many cases, it can be difficult to determine what led employers to terminate employees. Working with skilled Houston wrongful termination lawyers and scheduling a free consultation will give you the insight you need on how to proceed with your case. We will help you determine whether or not your case is worth legal action.
Is Texas an “At Will Employment” State?
Texas employment law follows a doctrine called “employment at will.” Employment at will means that, without a direct agreement, such as an employee contract, any party in the employment relationship can change the nature of that relationship without any reason or advance notice. As an employee, you can quit without legal consequences.
Additionally, an employer could make you part time, change your schedule, or fire you without breaking the law. Many Texas workers assume that this means their employer can fire them for any reason whatsoever, but federal and state laws do place boundaries on the employment at will doctrine. For example, your employer cannot discriminate against you or fire you for being part of a union.
How Does Texas At-Will Employment Law Affect Wrongful Termination Cases?
Texas’s at-will employment laws make it more difficult for employees to prove cases of wrongful termination, but not impossible. Although our state doesn’t have the most robust protections for employees, the law still gives employees a way to exercise their rights. Wrongful termination in Texas is more like an “illegal termination.”
This means that, in order to have a valid claim, you must show that your employer fired you for an illegal reason. In other words, it must violate a federal, state, or local statute.
Employment contracts are another way an at-will employee can show they were wrongfully terminated. If the employer violated the employment contract by firing the employee, they could face a breach of contract claim.
How Do I Prove Wrongful Termination?
It is extremely rare for an employer to admit firing someone for an illegal reason. Because of this, you must ensure that you gather enough evidence to craft a strong legal case. Many employers try to hide behind legitimate reasons for firing someone, such as tardiness, poor work performance, or employee misconduct. To overcome these false claims, you will need to produce evidence that refutes your employer’s claim.
For example, you believe that your employer fired you because you filed a sexual harassment claim with the company’s HR department. The employer states that they fired you because of your poor work performance, but you have flawless performance reviews to show otherwise. Even after you prove they fired you under false pretenses, you must still prove that they fired you for an illegal reason.
Some of the most effective evidence in wrongful termination cases includes the following.
- Paperwork and contracts
- Notice of termination
- Employee policies and handbooks
- Emails, memos, or other official communications
- Past performance reviews
- Pay stubs
- Coworker interviews
Why Choose Leichter Law for Your Wrongful Termination Case?
At Leichter Law, our skilled Houston wrongful termination attorneys are incredibly passionate about protecting and fighting for workers’ rights across the state of Texas. Under both Texas laws and federal laws, you have many rights as an employee. The protection against wrongful termination is one of those rights.
Our Austin and Houston employment lawyers are extremely adept at helping employees take legal action against their employers. Our clients benefit from our legal specialization in Texas labor and employment law, as this certification positions us as true experts in our field. If you are facing a complicated employment law matter, we offer a free case evaluation to every single client. This way, you can know for sure if your case is worth pursuing before you put in the time and effort of filing a claim.
Types of Wrongful Termination Cases We Handle
Our wrongful termination lawyers have experience handling wrongful termination cases in which employees were fired for discriminatory reasons as well as others. Firing an employee for any of the below characteristics is illegal, and therefore qualifies as wrongful termination.
- National origin
- Sexual orientation
- Disability status
- Sex or gender identity
- Race or ethnicity
- Sexual harassment or a hostile work environment
- Workers’ compensation retaliation
- FMLA violations
- Employment discrimination
- Wage and hour violations, such as unpaid overtime
- Whistleblower retaliation
If you were fired for any of the above reasons, or for another reason that is illegal according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), you may have a valid claim.
What Should I Do if I Was Wrongfully Terminated in Texas?
If you were wrongfully terminated, you have the right to file a complaint about your employer. As soon as you are wrongfully terminated, you may be required to file a charge with one of the following entities.
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
- Texas Workforce Commission (TWC)
- National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)
This charge must be filed within 180 days of being wrongfully terminated or discriminated against, according to federal law. The deadline for filing a charge may extend to 300 days for Texas residents.
Filing a charge with the above three entities is much easier than you might think. Below, we outline the simple steps to take when filing your charge with the TWC, the EEOC, or the NLRB.
- TWC: To begin, you must either visit the local TWC office or call (888) 452-4778 or (512) 463-2642.
- EEOC: You must either visit the local EEOC office or call (800) 669-4000. You may also file online by using the EEOC’s public portal.
- NLRB: You must either visit the local NLRB office or call (866) 667-6572. You may also file online via their e-filing portal.
We also recommend that you speak with a qualified employment law office. Having an attorney at your side throughout your case can help you build a stronger case against your employer.
What Can I Get if I Win My Wrongful Termination Case?
Many people wonder if it’s worth it to take their old employer to court for wrongful termination. Far too many workers assume that a court case would take too much time and result in an overall monetary loss. However, if you have been wrongfully terminated, you can hire skilled attorneys to handle the case and to recover substantial monetary recompense for you and your loved ones.
If you have been unfairly fired, the court could award you financial compensation and other benefits. You could be reinstated at your job, given back pay and future pay, promoted, or given punitive damages meant to dissuade the company from future illegal actions. An experienced Texas wrongful termination attorney can help you decide whether it would be in your best interest to carry through with a lawsuit. Other eligible compensation includes the following.
- Expenses necessary to get another job
- 401K contributions and any other benefits
- Emotional distress
Wrongful Termination FAQs
Absolutely. It is completely illegal under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to discriminate in the workplace based on religion. This includes both your belief in established religions and your personal beliefs. For example, you may be a member of a certain religious group. If an employer refuses to hire you for this, or if they were to refuse your observance of a religious holiday, this would be discriminatory.
Generally speaking, there are two forms of religious discrimination.
- Failing to provide reasonable accommodations: Examples of reasonable accommodations include observing daily prayers, wearing religious clothing, having days off for religious holidays, and more. If an employer refuses to provide these reasonable accommodations, this is considered discriminatory.
- Disparate treatment based on religion: Making any kind of employment-related decisions based on religion. Examples of employment decisions include hiring, firing, promoting, demoting, and other decisions. Disparate treatment can also include workplace harassment by coworkers, employers, and other parties.
If an employer fires a contracted employee before the end of the contract, they may face a claim of wrongful termination if they violated a termination clause. Termination clauses outline what does and does not constitute grounds for termination. They also outline whether or not the employee may apply again for another position or for their current position.
To simplify, if an employer breaches any part of your contract by firing you, this is a breach of contract. The best way to identify whether or not this is the case is to review your contract with an attorney. An employment law firm will be able to help you understand the nuances included in your employment contract.
There are many forms of evidence you can use to support your claim of discrimination. One of the best ways to support your claim is to keep a detailed record of meetings, conversations, and any other relevant work events. Include dates and times with each entry to ensure you have a solid timeline.
You should also gather as much supporting evidence as possible. Strong forms of supporting evidence include emails, texts, witness testimony, and even performance reviews. These elements, when combined with detailed notes on the discrimination, can create a powerful case.
Working with an employment law attorney is the last step to building a strong case and ensuring you’re ready for court. Not every employment claim goes to court, as many companies prefer to settle outside of court to keep the matter quiet. However, many claims do end up in court, which is why preparation is crucial.
Proving that you were fired as a form of retaliation requires proving three separate elements. First, you must prove that you were fired in retaliation for participating in a protected activity. Examples include refusing to obey a dangerous or discriminatory order, as well as filing discrimination charges or testifying about the charges in court.
Next, you must prove that your employer took action against you as a result of your participation in a protected activity. Examples of adverse actions include demotions, termination, reassignment, benefits reductions, or even verbal abuse.
Lastly, you must show causation, which is proof that your protected activity is what triggered the retaliation. Because employers are extremely unlikely to admit fault, most cases alleging retaliation rely heavily on evidence. By working with your attorney, you must show a connection between your protected activity and the retaliatory action.
For example, those who are victims of hostile work environments may report these conditions with their HR department. If their employer fires them for filing this report, this can be the direct connection to prove their case. If you can prove that no other legitimate reason for firing you existed, you have a strong case.
Contact a Houston and Austin Wrongful Termination with Leichter Law Today
Many frustrated employees find that simply going to their human resources department with their grievances isn’t having the impact they wanted. If you have been wrongfully terminated by your employer, we strongly recommend speaking with an experienced employment lawyer. At Leichter Law, we have represented clients in countless wrongful termination cases against their employers. We can give your case the edge it needs to succeed. To schedule your free consultation with us, please call our office at (512) 495-9995 today.