Armstrong & Associates Employment Law Firm

Wrongful Termination

Wrongful Termination

Experiencing termination from your job can be incredibly distressing, and it can be even more unsettling if you suspect it may have been unlawful. Employers are expected to adhere to legal guidelines when terminating employees, and wrongful termination occurs when an employer violates these laws by firing an employee for an illegal reason. If you believe you were wrongfully terminated, it will be to your advantage to understand your rights and seek legal guidance as soon as possible.

At Armstrong & Associates, our seasoned employment law attorneys have over 30 years of experience navigating Texas employment concerns and disputes. We advocate for employees who’ve been wrongfully terminated and are committed to helping you fight for your legal rights.

Understanding Employment “At Will” and Wrongful Termination

Like many other states, employment in Texas is considered “at will,” meaning employers and employees can choose to end the employment relationship “at will” (at any time) and for any reason. However, this doctrine has some exceptions, as employers do not have free reign to terminate employees for unlawful reasons.

Wrongful termination occurs when an employee is discharged (fired) for any reason that violates state or federal laws, including those that protect against discrimination and retaliation. Most employers won’t state outright that a person is being fired for an illegal reason. Still, if there is evidence that discrimination fueled the decision, there may be cause for a wrongful termination claim.

Recognizing Illegal Reasons for Termination

Employers are prohibited from discharging employees for discriminatory or retaliatory reasons under state and federal laws. Sometimes, this is obvious when it occurs, but it’s typically more nuanced. Employers are also prohibited from making adverse employment decisions, including termination, based on protected factors.

Some common illegal reasons for termination include discrimination based on these protected categories:

  • Race
  • Color
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Gender
  • Pregnancy
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Citizenship status
  • Genetic information
  • Protected legal activity (for example, taking FMLA leave or filing an EEOC complaint)
  • Marital status

Understanding these illegal reasons for termination is crucial for identifying potential discrimination and wrongful termination. If you believe you may have been discharged for a reason related to one of these, it’s critical to seek legal guidance to protect your rights, your reputation, and your future.

Federal and Texas State Laws on Workplace Discrimination

Both federal and Texas state laws protect against workplace discrimination, including wrongful termination based on protected factors. These laws apply to employers with a certain number of employees, typically 15 or more.

Key federal laws addressing workplace discrimination include:

Texas state laws largely mirror federal protections and cover additional factors, such as discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Understanding these laws and protections is crucial for identifying and addressing wrongful termination due to discrimination. A skilled employment law attorney can assist with navigating the complexities of state and federal discrimination laws to support your claim and protect your employment rights.

Identifying Retaliation and Illegal Employer Actions

Identifying discrimination and retaliation in the workplace is sometimes apparent, but it’s often more subtle and occurs in the form of small acts or decisions occurring over time. Because Texas allows employers to “fire at will,” some have the attitude that they can terminate employees for any reason, even if it’s illegal.

In addition to discrimination, employers may not retaliate against employees for engaging in legally protected activities or reporting unlawful practices. Retaliation can take many different forms, with some more obvious than others. It may include termination, demotion, being given a less desirable position or assignment, or other adverse actions.

Examples of protected activities that could trigger retaliation if an employer takes adverse actions include:

  • Taking leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
  • Reporting discrimination or harassment
  • Filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
  • Asserting rights under wage and hour laws
  • Refusing to comply with directions that would result in discrimination
  • Requesting a workplace accommodation for a disability
  • Requesting an accommodation for a religious practice
  • Discussing salaries with coworkers or managers to discover potential discriminatory wage practices
  • Filing a wage theft violation claim

Retaliation can happen in many ways, and many employees experience retaliation before being terminated in these cases. It could be retaliation if an employer does any of these as a result of the employee participating in protected activities or for other unlawful reasons:

  • Giving the employee a lower performance evaluation
  • Moving the employee to a less desirable role or position
  • Threatening to contact the authorities (or actually contacting them) in retaliation, as in reporting immigration status or calling the police
  • Increasing scrutiny and oversight
  • Spreading false gossip or rumors
  • Making the employee’s work more difficult for the purposes of retaliation (for example, changing their work schedule or denying requests for time off)

If you believe you were wrongfully terminated as retaliation for exercising your legal rights, seeking legal advice is essential. Our team at Armstrong & Associates can help you understand your rights and seek legal action against unlawful employer actions.

Begin Your Wrongful Termination Case Today with Armstrong & Associates

Navigating a wrongful termination claim can be complex and emotionally challenging. Consulting with an experienced wrongful termination attorney is crucial to understanding your legal options and protecting your rights as an employee.

At Armstrong & Associates, our employment law attorneys have over 30 years of experience advocating for employees who have been wrongfully terminated. Jacqueline Armstrong is known in the legal community for her passionate defense of employee rights and her profound expertise in employment law. We offer personalized legal guidance and strategic representation to pursue justice on your behalf.

During a consultation, we will assess the details of your case, review relevant employment laws, and advise you on the best course of action. We aim to help you seek fair compensation and hold employers accountable for unlawful termination practices.

If you believe you were wrongfully terminated, don’t hesitate to contact Armstrong & Associates for experienced legal representation. Your rights as an employee deserve protection, and we are here to fight for you. Schedule a consultation with us today to discuss your case confidentially.

Wrongful Termination
Jacqueline A. Armstrong

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