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What Does "At Will" Employment Mean?


Texas At-Will Employment

Texas, like most states in the U.S., is an at-will employment state. This means that Texas employers are allowed to fire an employee for any reason, as long as it does not violate the law. At-will employees are not required to be given notice before their termination, and there are no set procedures that must be followed.

The Effect of At-Will Employment

At-will employment is becoming extremely common because it doesn’t limit the ability employers have to manage their staff and control them as they will. Most companies who utilize this type of employment contract will tell their employees upfront or on hiring that they’re being brought in on an at-will basis. However, some employers’ words may negate this claim, such as when an employer says “you’ll always have a place here if you keep up the good work.” This implies a performance-based employment arrangement, not an at-will one.

An employer CAN fire you because:

  • You took too much time off
  • You were not performing well
  • He/she does not like you
  • He/she is having a bad day
  • He/she thinks you talk too much
  • He/she does not get along with you

At the same time, workers are also allowed to quit their jobs for any reason and at any time. The employment relationship can be described as voluntary unless the worker has signed various agreements that specify the grounds for termination.

Terminating an Employee in Texas

This does not mean that employers can break the law when terminating you. There are limitations to “at-will” employment clauses, which are intended to curb the power of employers and protect workers’ rights.

An employer CANNOT fire you for the following reasons:

  • Discriminating against you because of your race, age, gender, or medical condition
  • In retaliation against you for reporting sexual harassment
  • In retaliation for whistleblowing activities
  • In retaliation for taking a medical leave
  • In retaliation for participating in union activities
  • For filing a wage and hour claim for unpaid wages
  • For making complaints about OSHA violations
  • If the termination is a violation of your employment contract

Wrongfully Terminated? Tell Us About Your Issue

Above are just a few examples of reasons that may be grounds for a wrongful termination lawsuit.

If you believe that you were wrongfully terminated, contact Shellist Lazarz Slobin to speak with a Houston wrongful termination attorney about your case. Examples of wrongful termination would be firing an employee based on his or her race, age, disability, or another discriminatory reason. Our team can review the details of your case and help you determine whether you have been wrongfully terminated and if you are eligible to recover damages.

Schedule an initial consultation by calling (713) 352-3433 or email us.

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