LABOR & EMPLOYMENT
Houston Wrongful Termination Lawyer
Losing your job is a traumatic experience. Often, you might not even see it coming and you’re not prepared for what’s to come after. This experience can be especially devastating if you were wrongfully terminated. If this is the case, do not assume you’re out of options. If your termination violated any of your legal rights as an employee, you may be able to receive compensation for back pay and even punitive damages. Our Houston wrongful termination lawyers at Reich & Binstock represent clients all over Texas who have been unlawfully terminated.
What is Wrongful Termination?
Wrongful termination laws vary from state to state. Some states follow an “employment at will” model. Employment at will states allow employers to terminate an employee, with or without notice, at any time and for any reason without being held legally liable. Likewise, employees are free to quit at any time and for any reason without legal repercussions.
Even though Texas is an employment at will state, there are still some ways you might be fired unlawfully. Here are some examples of reasons for wrongful termination:
- Discrimination (discharge based on race or color, sex or gender, religion, age, disability, etc.)
- Protected activity (laws that give employees the ability to enact their rights without fear of retaliation)
- Filing a claim or complaint against the company
- Military duty
- Jury duty
- Participating in union activity
- Refusal to commit a criminal act
- Violation of an employee’s contract or employment agreements
Does Acting in Bad Faith Affect a Wrongful Termination Claim?
You may have a wrongful termination case if your employer acted in bad faith. One example of this might include making up reasons to fire someone with the actual intent to hire another person and pay them less. Another example may be discharging an employee to stop them from earning sales commissions for themselves. If your employer’s actions were clearly made in bad faith, you might have a claim against them for breach of duty of good faith and fair dealing.
What to Do After a Wrongful Termination?
The first thing you should do after you feel you have been wrongfully terminated is to schedule a consultation with a lawyer to see if you have a valid case.
What you can do in the meantime to help build evidence for your case is to document everything you can. First, request a letter from your employer that states the supposed reason behind your firing. Keep records of emails, conversations, and work incidents that show proof of any form of harassment, retaliation, or discrimination.
You may also want to write out your own version of events. Try to recall as many details as possible that led up to the termination. You may want to include specific quotes, dates, or names of witnesses or people involved. This will help your lawyer build their case and enable them to identify witnesses and conduct depositions later.
You should also keep in mind that anything you do or say can be used against you in court. This includes anything posted to social media regarding the incident. Try to stay as silent as possible (at least in public settings) about the case until it has been resolved.
Why Do I Need a Wrongful Termination Lawyer?
If you’ve been unlawfully terminated and wish to file a lawsuit, there are many reasons why you might need a wrongful termination lawyer. Showing up to court without an attorney already sets you at a disadvantage and weakens the strength of your case.
For one, it can be extremely challenging to succeed in an employment lawsuit without the knowledge of an attorney. You want someone who is familiar with federal and state employment laws and can navigate them in a court of law. You also want someone who is familiar with courtroom procedures and prepared to shoot down arguments from the other side.
A wrongful termination lawyer understands the type of information that needs to be gathered to help build your case, how to attain that information, and how to successfully present it to a jury. It is also important that they are aware of the potentially unfair tactics and strategies that your employer’s lawyer will likely attempt, and know the ways to prevent them.
A wrongful termination attorney that is successful in presenting your case to the court may help you to obtain monetary damages. These damages are any losses that you experienced as a result of your wrongful termination. This includes lost wages and lost benefits. A skilled attorney may even help you recover compensation for emotional distress as well as punitive damages.
What Constitutes a Wrongful Termination?
To be wrongfully terminated in Texas means you are fired for an illegal reason. This may involve a violation of federal anti-discrimination laws or a contractual breach.
How Do You Prove Wrongful Termination?
Proving a wrongful termination case in Texas can be difficult, since Texas is an "at will" state. This allows an employer to fire an employee at any time, for any reason. However, there are exceptions to the at-will policies that can lead to wrongful termination lawsuits.
Evidence is the most important aspect in proving a wrongful termination case. You'll need to collect all of the relevant employment documents and correspondence, as well as any relevant contracts you may have. This information, when presented as evidence, can help the court determine if any laws were broken, normally in terms of workplace discrimination or retaliation.
Need a Houston Wrongful Termination Attorney? Call Us Today!
At Reich & Binstock, we hold employers accountable for unfair labor and employment practices such as wrongful termination. If you have found yourself in this situation and wish to file a lawsuit against your employer, we can help. We’ll walk you through the legal process and represent you and your case in court. You can call our Houston office at 713-622-7271 or 800-622-7271 toll free or fill out our contact form below for your free case consultation.
There is a never a fee unless we recover on your behalf.