Wrongful Termination

“Wrongful termination” in Texas is something of a misnomer. The claims that you read about and see on this website deal with wrongful termination in one form or another but there is no specific wrongful termination concept in Texas law. Most forms of wrongful termination in Texas are covered under concepts with things such as age, sex or race discrimination, whistleblowing violations, or retaliation claims.

Texas, as you may know, is an “employment at will” state which generally means that absent an agreement that limits an employer’s ability to fire an employee (usually an employment contract) an employer can terminate an employee’s employment for a good reason, a bad reason or no reason at all.

The only common law (non-statutory) exception to the employment at will doctrine, providing for a wrongful discharge claim in Texas is under what is known as the Sabine Pilot exception to the employment at will doctrine which makes it illegal for an employer to terminate an employee who refuses to perform an illegal act, that is, an action that carries with it a criminal penalty.