How Should I Handle Wrongful Termination in Texas?

How Should I Handle Wrongful Termination in Texas?

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If we were to sum up employment law, it would all come down to this: your employer can fire you, but not for the wrong reasons.

A majority of states that include Texas are considered “employment at-will” states, which means employers can fire a worker for a lawful reason at any time. For example, if your employer needs to reduce the number of employees to turn a profit, your employer has the legal right to terminate employees if it operates in an employment at-will state

If your employer has the right to terminate you for a legally valid reason, what constitutes wrongful termination in Texas? As one of the most common types of legal grievances between workers and employers, wrongful termination in Texas occurs when an employer breaks a state or federal law that protects employees in the workplace.

At the federal level, one or more violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 constitute wrongful termination in Texas. Title VII makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate against workers based on factors such as race, gender, and national origin. This means your employer cannot fire you because you are of a certain race, bender, or national origin. In conjunction with the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), Texas Labor Code Chapter 21 prohibits an employer from firing anyone 40 and older because of age.

If your employer terminated you wrongfully, you have the right to seek compensation to address the illegal act. At Morgan & Morgan, we have helped clients recover monetary damages for wrongful termination cases for more than 30 years. Schedule a free case evaluation with one of our employment attorneys to determine whether your employer violated a state and/or federal law by firing you.

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Wrongful Termination in Texas

  • What Are the Types of Claims Filed for Wrongful Termination?

    Many of our clients are unaware of the many types of wrongful termination claims. When they sign off on an employment at-will agreement during the onboarding process, they mistakenly believe they have no rights when it comes to termination. One of the first things an employment lawyer from Morgan & Morgan does with a potential client is to explain the many different types of wrongful termination cases/

    Act of Discrimination
    It is worth repeating: Your employer cannot fire you for any of the discrimination factors mentioned in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Like many states, Texas has enacted as rigorous of an anti-discrimination law as Title VII. Not only is your employer prohibited from firing you because of race, gender, and national origin, your employer also cannot terminate you because of a disability or your sexual orientation. If you received a termination notice and you think it is because of one of the factors mentioned in Title VII or Texas law, you should immediately contact an employment attorney at Morgan & Morgan.

    Retaliation Against a Whistleblower
    If your employer fired you as an act of retaliation, you have a right to file a wrongful termination lawsuit. One of the most frequently reported acts of retaliation concerns workers that report workplace safety violations to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Some employers retaliate against whistleblowers by ending the employment relationship, which represents wrongful termination in Texas.

    Disputing Your Wages
    Employers that do not pay overtime and minimum wage violate a federal employment statute. If an employee reports a wage violation and in return, the employer terminates the worker, the employer has committed an act of wrongful termination. You have the right to receive full compensation under state and federal employment laws. If your employer terminated you because you reported a wage violation, you should file a wrongful termination lawsuit.

    Violation of Employment Contract
    Some employees work under an employment contract that spells out the legal responsibilities both parties have during a period of employment. A legally sound employment contract lists the reasons why an employer can fire a worker. If an employee works under an employment contract and the employer terminates the worker for a reason not listed in the contract, the worker has the right to file a wrongful termination lawsuit.

    Employer Termination Standard
    When you went through the onboarding process, you signed off on all the stipulations presented in your employee manual. One section of your employee manual discusses the disciplinary process. A common disciplinary process lists the steps your employer must follow before terminating you. For example, step one can be a verbal warning, step two a written warning, step three a suspension, and step four termination.

  • Why Do I Need a Wrongful Termination Attorney?

    An experienced employment lawyer conducts a thorough review of your case during a free case evaluation. When you meet with an employment attorney from Morgan & Morgan, the first item on the agenda is to establish whether your employer followed the intent of employment at-will or committed wrongful termination in Texas under state and/or federal law. If our employment lawyer discovers your employer committed wrongful termination in Texas, then the next step involves gathering and organizing evidence.

    Gathering and organizing evidence requires your lawyer to review your employee file to determine whether your employer followed the proper procedures for terminating you. Many of the documents we need to see should be stored in the company human resources department. Evidence also comes in the form of witnesses that confirm your employer fired you for the wrong reasons.

    Before filing a civil lawsuit, our employment attorney tries to negotiate a settlement to avoid the costly and time-consuming litigation process. We will send your employer a demand letter that details the case we have for wrongful termination. Our employment lawyer also calculates a value for monetary damages. If your employer refuses to negotiate, then we have no other choice but to file a civil lawsuit for wrongful termination in Texas.

  • How Do I Prove Wrongful Termination in Texas?

    A persuasive wrongful termination case should include an extensive paper trail that documents every step of the disciplinary process. For instance, if your employer fired you without following the company policy for taking disciplinary action, you should speak with one of the highly skilled litigators at Morgan & Morgan.

    Another type of wrongful termination case that leaves a paper trail involves an employment contract. With the stipulations of the employment contract clearly stated, it should be easy to determine whether your employer violated the employment contract.

    However, not every wrongful termination case generates a paper trail. For cases of retaliation, it often comes down to the word of the worker against the word of the employer. Retaliation for reporting acts of discrimination and sexual harassment represents one of the most common types of wrongful termination cases. However, proving retaliation is difficult to do unless you get legal support from witnesses.

  • Is There a Deadline for Filing a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit?

    As with a personal injury lawsuit, our clients that want to file a wrongful termination lawsuit must submit the proper documents before the expiration of the statute of limitations. However, you first have to meet a deadline for filing a claim with the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC).

    The statute of limitations for filing a TWC claim is 180 days from the date of your termination. You can request an extension to 300 days if you meet the guidelines established by the TWC. After you file a wrongful termination claim with the TWC, you have two years to file a wrongful termination lawsuit against your employer.

  • What Is a Wrongful Termination Settlement?

    Getting fired for an unlawful reason can make a significant negative impact on your finances. The unexpected loss of a job forces you to dip into your emergency fund to pay bills and daily expenses. By working with one of the highly-rated employment attorneys at Morgan & Morgan, you can stop the financial bleeding relatively quickly.

    Every one of our employment lawyers possesses strong negotiating skills, which is an important attribute to have in an employment attorney. Before filing a civil lawsuit, we try to negotiate a favorable settlement for our clients. The negotiations kick off with our employment lawyer sending a demand letter that includes a settlement value. Your employer sends a counteroffer that we consider before possibly sending another counteroffer.

    Negotiating a settlement benefits you because you do not spend time in a courtroom litigating your case. A wrongful termination lawsuit can take months to conclude, which puts you deeper into a financial hole.

  • How Do You Value Wrongful Termination Cases?

    We consider several factors when establishing a value on wrongful termination claims and lawsuits. One of the biggest differences between a personal injury claim and a wrongful termination claim is a wrongful termination claim does not include compensation for medical expenses.

    Lost Wages
    The most important economic damages to recover concerns your wages. You have the right to request compensation for the time you missed from work because your employer unlawfully fired you. Not only do you deserve back pay, but you also might qualify for future wages if you can prove wrongful termination harmed your chances of securing employment with another employer.

    Unpaid Benefits
    You have the right to recover the value of the benefits you lost because your employer wrongfully terminated you. For example, if you lost health insurance coverage and had to pay out-of-pocket for a previously covered medical procedure, you should ask to receive compensation for lost benefits. You also can ask for monetary damages to cover the income lost because of the end of a retirement plan.

    Pain and Suffering
    As a type of non-economic monetary damage, pain and suffering covers issues such as emotional distress. Losing a job for any reason can trigger emotional issues such as acute anguish and anxiety. However, losing a job wrongfully can produce intense feelings like anger. Your employment lawyer will calculate the value of pain and suffering based on the value placed on the economic damages.

    Punitive Damages
    Punitive damages penalize your employer for violating a state and/or federal employment law. Punitive damages are intended to discourage your employer from wrongfully terminating another employee. Sometimes, an employer is not aware of a violation of an employment law. For those types of cases, the punitive damages are not as high as they are for cases of intentional violations of employment law.

  • Fight Back Against Wrongful Termination in Texas

    You deserve much better than experiencing the shame of wrongful termination. Reach out to one of the highly-rated employment attorneys at Morgan & Morgan to discuss your case. You should prepare for the initial meeting by writing down questions, as well as bringing every document that supports your case.

    Fight back against wrongful termination in Texas by scheduling a free case evaluation with one of the state-licensed employment lawyers at Morgan & Morgan.

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