Wrongful Termination - Austin
Contact an Austin employment lawyer if you would like to schedule a consultation to discuss a claim for wrongful termination, discrimination, hostile work environment, unpaid wages, or workplace retaliation. Depending on the fact of your termination, you may be able to bring a claim against your employer for wrongful termination. Although Texas follows the at-will employment doctrine, most employers cannot terminate an employee based on race, religion, gender, sex, or national origin. Additionally, most employers are prohibited from terminating an employee because the employee complained about unlawful discrimination. Such actions may give rise to a claim for what is commonly referred to as wrongful termination.
To schedule a consultation with an Austin employment lawyer, contact our employment law firm today.
Generally, a Texas employer can fire an employee for any or no reason without warning. However, both federal and state laws prohibit certain type of employment discrimination and retaliation. For example, employment laws often prohibit an employer from discriminating against an employee based on race, religion, gender, national origin, disability, pregnancy, and, in some cases, sexual orientation. This is not an exhaustive list of protected characteristics.
Discrimination occurs when an employer alters the terms of employment based on a protected characteristic. For example, it may not be a violation of employment law to terminate an employee because the employee was late when returning from lunch. But it could be a violation of the law if the employer only terminates African American employees who are late retuning from lunch while, at the same time, not similarly disciplining Caucasians employees who are also late. This provides evidence that it is race, not tardiness, motivating the decision to terminate employees. When there is no direct evidence of discrimination, patterns of treatment by an employer are often used to support claims for discrimination in the workplace.
Because it may be difficult to prove a claim for discrimination against an employer, it is important to consult with an employment lawyer to better understand employee rights. Contact an Austin employment lawyer in our office to schedule a consultation and discuss your rights.Workplace Retaliation and Wrongful Termination Claims
An employer is often prohibited from retaliating against an employee because the employee complains about discrimination that is based on a protected characteristic. For example, an employee who complains about age, race, religion, national origin, gender discrimination, and/or disability discrimination is often protected from retaliation based on their complaint. However, an employee is not necessarily protected by a general complaint of harassment that is not based on a protected characteristic. For example, it is probably not a violation of the law to terminate an employee because the employee complained about not having coffee in the break room.
Recently, the Texas Supreme considered a retaliation case and held that to be protected from retaliation, the employee must have had a good-faith reasonable belief that the law had been violated. In that case, the employee complained that a company Vice President asked female employees to lunch. In considering the facts of that case, the Court held that it was not reasonable to believe that simply asking a coworker to lunch constituted sexual harassment. Thus, the employee was not protected from retaliation based on that complaint. However the Court acknowledged that this requires a case-by–case analysis.
If you believe that you may be the victim of unlawful retaliation or want to complain about discrimination, contact an Austin employment lawyer in our firm to schedule a consultation.
In some cases, the law may require an employee to at least put the employer on notice of discrimination before bringing a claim for discrimination or retaliation. However, many employees are worried about retaliation after making a complaint about discrimination in the workplace. Once you complain about certain forms of discrimination, the law normally requires the employer to take action to prevent further harassment. Additionally, the law often prohibits an employer from retaliation against an employee complaining about protected forms of discrimination.
Many employers have a specific process for employees to follow when complaining about unlawful discrimination. In addition to following these internal processes, an employee has the right to have a lawyer to bring a complaint against an employer. If you would like to retain an employment lawyer to represent you in a claim for discrimination or retaliation, schedule a consultation with an Austin employment lawyer with our law firm.