In the State of Texas, employment is “at-will,” meaning that employers can terminate employees for any irrational or seemingly unfair reason. However, as in most states, there are some circumstances where employers cannot legally terminate their employees. For instance, employers cannot discriminate based on race, color, national origin, sex, pregnancy, religion, disability, age, or marital status. Other wrongful termination situations could include a breach of contract or an illegal act exception. So, what do you do after you’ve been wrongfully terminated from you job?
Send a Demand Letter.
First and foremost, you should send a demand letter to your former employer. It may be the case that your employer was unaware that legal action could be taken against them for terminating you, and these letters are typically a way to negotiate before pursuing a legal case, saving both parties time, energy, and resources. In the letter, state that the termination was unlawful, as well as cite the exact law that was broken, and ask if they would be willing to come to an agreement of employment again. If they are not willing, it may be in your best interest to move forward with legal action.
File a Complaint.
If you believe you’ve been wrongfully terminated and want to pursue a case against a former employer, the next step is to find the right agency to file a claim with. The Civil Rights Division of the Texas Workforce Commission provides unemployment benefits and also accepts and investigates complaints of employment discrimination after termination. You must meet the following criteria to file a complaint of discrimination:
The workplace must be located in the state of Texas.
The company must employ at least 15 employees.
The alleged discrimination or direct termination must have occurred within 180 days of the complaint.
The allegation must specify that the discrimination was based on either race, color, national origin, sex, religion, disability, or age.
Contact an Employment Attorney.
Wrongful termination can be a very confusing area of law. If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated for any reason, you should immediately contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. They will help you understand the details of your potential case and what the best legal approach to take is.