Employment Disputes

Retaliatory Discharge for Filing Workers' Compensation Claim

Retaliatory Discharge for Filing Workers' Compensation Claim

Texas is what is known as an “at will” state, which means that you are employed at your will and at your employer’s will. Either party can sever the employment relationship for good reason, no reason, or a bad reason without any fear of retribution. The government does not like to interfere with how private employers handle their business; however, there are very few exceptions to the “at will” doctrine. One exception that our office deals with regularly is section 451 of the Texas Labor Code. Amongst other protections, this Texas statute states that it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee for filing a workers’ compensation claim in good faith. These claims are known as 451 claims because they refer to the specific labor code provision that creates the cause of action. We will help you pursue compensation for all your losses, from wages and income to medical expenses or mental anguish.

Firing For Reporting a Crime

Firing For Reporting a Crime

You cannot be fired if you reported that your employer was committing a crime. The Sabine Pilot exception to employment at will prohibits employers from discharging employees for the sole reason that the employee refuses to perform an illegal act. This is a very narrow exception. In order to establish a violation under Sabine Pilot, you must show that your refusal to perform an illegal act is the only reason for your termination. If your employer can prove that there was another reason motivating the decision to terminate you, your employer will not be liable under this common-law exception to employment at will. Another important feature of a Sabine Pilot cause of action is that the illegal act you refused to perform must be a violation of criminal law, and the penalty for the commission of the crime must include imprisonment.

Age, Sex, Disability and Race Discrimination

Age, Sex, Disability and Race Discrimination

Texas is a right to work state. In most cases, there is no recourse if you are fired. However, an exception to being able to terminate an employee at will is if their termination or discrimination was because of their age, sex, disability or race. A discrimination claim can be filed either with the state administrative agency, the Texas Workforce Commission – Civil Rights Division (TWC-CRD) or the federal administration agency, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Filing a claim with both agencies is unnecessary, as long as you indicate to one of the agencies that you want it to “cross-file” the claim with the other agency. If you are a state employee with an age discrimination or disability discrimination claim, you should be sure to file a timely claim under Texas state law, because the state may have immunity from certain kinds of claims under the ADA or ADEA. If your case is not resolved by the TWC-CRD or EEOC and you may want to continue to pursue the matter, you will need to pursue your claim in court. A federal employment discrimination case cannot be filed in court without first going to the EEOC, as discussed above, and having the EEOC dismiss your case. This process is called “exhaustion” of your administrative remedy. Similarly, before you can proceed with a lawsuit based on your state discrimination claim, you must file with the TWC-CRD. Under both TWC-CRD and EEOC rules, you must allow the agency at least 180 days to investigate the charge before proceeding with your claim in court. We will conduct a thorough investigation of your case’s facts and circumstances, gathering and evaluating all relevant evidence, and interviewing or deposing witnesses to prepare and present the best case for your recovery. We will help you pursue compensation for all your losses, from wages and income to mental anguish.