Texas is a strong “employment-at-will” state. This means that either the employer or the employee may end the employment relationship without giving either notice or a reason. However, while this is true in theory, some Texas laws and Texas courts have changed the traditional doctrine.
When a person's employment is terminated, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, there are a number of questions that may arise. The following subject areas should be considered:
Contract and implied contract. Texas follows the general rules on contract interpretation, which allow an implied contract to be found from a course of action of the parties. For example, when an employer had adopted a nepotism policy, but then did not enforce it for some 17 years (thereby allowing a woman to work in the same facility as her brother for almost two decades, with the full knowledge of management), the company was held to be bound by the waiver (Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. v. Portilla, 879 S.W.2d 47 (TX 1994)).
Discrimination. Texas's employment discrimination law prohibits discrimination in employment based on race, color, disability, religion, age, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions), national origin, and genetic information or the refusal of an individual to submit to a genetic test (TX Lab. Code Sec. 21.001 et seq.). The law applies to all public employers, including elected officials, and to private employers, including labor unions and employment agencies, with 15 or more employees. The law does not apply to out-of state employees of Texas-based companies.
Emergency evacuation. An employer may not discharge or otherwise discriminate against an employee who leaves work to ...