You have likely heard that Texas is an employment at-will state. This means that an employer may terminate an employee’s employment at any time, without notice. Furthermore, there is no requirement that the employer state a cause for the termination. This general rule makes it real easy for the employer who wishes to make a personnel change, right? Wrong!
For every rule there is an exception, and in the case of at-will employment, the exceptions have nearly swallowed the rule, making the decision to terminate an employee one of the more complex decisions that a business will consider.
Personnel decisions that are based (or appear to be based) on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, or age are often called into scrutiny by the disgruntled employee or job applicant. Similarly, the decision to terminate someone who has recently filed for workers’ compensation benefits or benefits under the Family Medical Leave Act can lead to claims of retaliation.
So, although Texas does technically allow termination without cause every employer needs to understand the various exceptions to the rule. Using policies and procedures that establish the employer’s expectations and the procedure for disciplining employees when those expectations are not met will go a long way in the effort to minimize employment disputes.
Williams, McClure & Parmelee is dedicated to high quality legal representation of businesses and insurance companies in a variety of matters. We are experienced Texas civil litigation attorneys based in Fort Worth who know Texas courts and Texas law. For more information, please contact the law firm at 817-335-8800. The firm’s office location is 5601 Bridge Street, Suite 300, Fort Worth, Texas 76112.