Dallas Workplace Retaliation Lawyers
Although Texas is an employment at-will state in which employers can terminate employees without good cause, many retaliatory terminations remain illegal and provide grounds for the employee to sue on account of the wrongful termination. Whether a particular retaliatory termination is actionable depends on whether the employee’s conduct which prompted the retaliation is “protected conduct.” While “protected conduct” comes in many varieties, a few important ones are listed below:
The Texas Labor Code prohibits retaliation or discrimination against an employee because the employee has filed a claim for workers compensation, hired an employment law attorney to represent him/her, or otherwise instituted proceeding under the Act. The institution of proceedings under the Act begins when an employee notifies the employer that he/she has suffered an on the job injury and includes everything an employee does in good faith to obtain benefits. Employers who retaliate against workers compensation claimants may be liable for actual and punitive damages.
The same laws that prohibit workplace discrimination on the basis of age, race, sex, national origin and disability also prohibit retaliation against an employee who opposes such conduct on his/her own behalf or on behalf of others. Employees should be free to raise concerns about discriminatory workplace practices and the law protects those who do.
The law also protects governmental employees and some employees in private industry who report violations of law or deviations from accepted practices. All governmental employees receive such protection either under whistleblower statutes or the Federal Constitution. Employees of private employers in selected industries including the medical industry and also those in publicly traded companies that report accounting irregularities, have such protections as well. In many cases the time limits for asserting these claims is quite short. Accordingly, anyone who believes he or she has been retaliated against for whistleblowing activities should seek counsel very promptly.
Refusal To Violate Criminal Laws
Texas courts recognize a cause of action for individuals who are terminated because they refuse to commit an action which violates a criminal law. Proof in such a case would include the fact that the employer requested the employee to perform an illegal act, that the employee refused and was fired for that reason an no other.