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Laredo Wrongful Termination Lawyer: Sabine Pilot and More

If you live in Laredo, you might already know that Texas employers can fire employees without notice or cause due to at-will employment laws. Fortunately, there are relevant legal protections for workers against wrongful termination and retaliation. These protections include the Texas Whistleblower Act, the Sabine Pilot doctrine, and hostile work environment claims.

Though employment at will laws make people feel as though they have no voice or legal recourse, a Carabin Shaw Laredo wrongful termination lawyer will know about Sabine Pilot and more and use that knowledge to build your case and secure compensation on your behalf.

The Importance of At-Will Employment Exceptions

In 1985 William Kilgarlin, an Associate Justice of the Texas Supreme Court, wrote that “Absolute employment at will is a relic of early industrial times…[and] belongs in a museum, not in our law.” Our Laredo employment lawyers agree and will do everything in their power to advocate for your workplace rights.

If you are trying to determine if you were wrongfully fired in Texas, taking a closer look at the following notable exceptions to at-will employment might help you figure out where you stand.

The Texas Whistleblower Act (1983)

A whistleblower is an employee who reports a person or organization engaged in illegal activities. Depending on the situation, a whistleblower might inform his or her supervisor, law enforcement, or a government agency. The state legislature passed the Texas Whistleblower Act in 1983 to encourage public employees to report illegal in-house activity or abuse. The Act protects employees from wrongful retaliation, suspension, and termination. For these protections to apply, the whistleblower at work must be able to prove that law violations took place.

If you feel this law applies to your situation, a skilled lawyer can provide meaningful insight and guidance about your next steps.

The Sabine Pilot Doctrine (1985)

Sabine Pilot is a judge-made law that comes from a Texas Supreme Court case, Sabine Pilot Service, Inc. v. Hauck. In this case, Michael Hauck argued that his former employer, Sabine Pilot, fired him because he refused to engage in criminal activity.

An officer for Sabine Pilot told Hauck, a deckhand, that part of his daily responsibilities included pumping bilges into the waterway. When Hauck later noticed a sign on the boat that said it was illegal to pump the bilges, he called the U.S. Coast Guard, which confirmed that placard was accurate. Following this conversation, Hauck refused to pump the bilges, and Sabine Pilot fired him as a result.

Though Sabine Pilot claimed that they terminated Hauck because of other “derelictions of duty,” like refusing to swab the deck, the court believed that Hauck lost his job solely for refusing to pump the bilges and deemed his firing illegal. This decision paved the way for other Sabine Pilot claims.

If you believe you have a Sabine Pilot case, our Laredo employment lawyers are ready to help assess your damages and advocate for your rights.

Hostile Work Environment Claims

Proving a hostile work environment is difficult because the court sets the standard incredibly high. A successful hostile work environment claim must relate to a protected characteristic. These characteristics include:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Ethnicity
  • Gender identification
  • Race
  • Religion or spiritual background
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation

Furthermore, for the court to classify a work environment as discriminatory, the poor conduct must be severe and widespread. An isolated comment—or even a few rude remarks—may be upsetting, but these instances of bad behavior do not fulfill the requirements for this type of employment lawsuit.

If you believe your work environment is unhealthy or hostile, first review your company’s policies and file a report with Human Resources or another appropriate department. If you’ve given your Laredo workplace time to address your concerns internally, but things still haven’t changed, call an attorney who is skilled in business and employment law.

Reach Out to an Attorney Today

A Carabin Shaw Laredo wrongful termination lawyer knows about Sabine Pilot and more and is ready to use that knowledge to help you. At our firm, your initial consultation is free, and we will not charge you unless we win your case.

To schedule a no-obligation appointment with a lawyer in Laredo, call 956-333-3333 or toll-free at 1-800-862-1260.

Visits with the Attorney are by appointment only. Main office San Antonio, Texas.

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