In Texas and New Mexico most workers are at-will employees. This means that an employer can lawfully terminate the employee at any time for any reason or no reason at all. An employee can also lawfully quit at any time for any reason or no reason. There are some exceptions to this rule. An employer cannot terminate someone based on being a member of a protected class. Protected classes include; age, race, religion, sex, national origin, or disability. In New Mexico, sexual orientation is also a protected class.
You also cannot be terminated for participating in a protected activity. Protected activities can include, complaining of discrimination based on a protected class, filing an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) complaint, participating in an EEOC investigation, or refusing to perform an illegal activity at the direction of your employer. New Mexico also offers a public policy protection that is not available in Texas. New Mexico recognizes a public policy exception to the at-will employment doctrine. An employer may not fire an employee for a reason that contravenes a clear mandate of public policy. An employee has a cause of action in other words, the employee may sue for wrongful discharge when the motivation for the discharge violates public policy. For further questions you can contact The Joeckel Law Office at 817-924-8600 or visit our website at www.joeckellaw.com.