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:
As a general rule, if a federal, state, or local law grants employees the right to engage in an activity or to enjoy a benefit, employees should never be disciplined, discharged, or otherwise retaliated against for requesting or attempting to do so.
To list a few key examples, state law prohibits employers from discharging employees for engaging in the following activities:
Emergency evacuation. An employer may not discharge or otherwise discriminate against an employee who leaves work to participate in a general public evacuation ordered under an emergency evacuation order (TX Lab. Code Sec. 22.002).
Genetic testing. It is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee or applicant because of information from genetic tests or a refusal to submit to a genetic test. In general, genetic information is treated as highly confidential, and an employer who obtains such information may be required to guard against disclosure to others without the express permission of the employee and/or a court order (TX Lab. Code Sec. 21.401 et seq.).
Political activity. Employees cannot be penalized for taking off adequate time needed to vote. The employee is presumed to have adequate time if the employee has at least two hours before or ...