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Unlawful Reasons for Termination in Odessa

According to Texas laws, employers in Odessa can terminate employees at any time for almost any reason. However, this “employment at will” status has certain exceptions prevents employers from abusing this power without consequence.

Types of Odessa Wrongful Termination

Despite Texas’ at-will employment policy, lawyers know that there are a few exceptional circumstances under which a Texas employer cannot terminate an employee. Some of the most common unlawful reasons for termination in Odessa include:

  • Firing an employee who refuses an illegal order
    • Despite Texas’ at-will employment doctrine, the law protects employees from being fired for the refusal of an order that involves illegal acts.
    • The illegal act exception in Texas is known as the Sabine Pilot doctrine. Sabine Pilot claims are those in which a terminated employee can prove he or she was fired for refusing to comply with illegal orders from their superiors. This rule is in place to help protect whistleblowers from employer retaliation.
  • Employer discrimination
    • Regardless of background, orientation, heritage, or other factors, everyone deserves a fair and equal opportunity for employment. Employer discrimination can include conditions that federal law protects in both public and private employment sectors. Some protected characteristics include:
      • Race
      • Sexual orientation
      • Religion
      • Ethnicity
      • Pregnancy
      • Disability
      • National Origin
  • Call to active duty
    • Our country’s servicemen and women could have to leave their civilian jobs to fulfill their responsibilities as an active military member. Texas statutes protect these employees from employer retaliation. If you are part of the military reserves, there are also laws in place to help you keep your job and be able to return to work upon completion of military duties.
  • Subpoena
    • If you are issued a subpoena or court summons, you must appear in court on the appointed day. If your employer fires you for missing work to respond to a court summons, they could be issued a subpoena as well.
  • Workers compensation retaliation
    • Under Texas law, you are eligible to file an employment lawsuit against your employer if you can prove that they fired you as retaliation for bringing a legitimate workers’ compensation claim against your employer. The decision must have come after you filed a workers’ compensation claim or enlisted legal guidance to pursue one.
Employment Contracts

If you and your employer have agreed on some form of an employment contract, you are not an at-will employee, which means that your case does not fall under Texas’ at-will doctrine. Only you, your employer, and an attorney can truly determine if you lost your job without cause.

There have been a few cases in Texas where employment contracts have saved an employee from unfair treatment. However, these contracts can also work the other way. In 2007, Joseph Peine of HIT Services claimed that his termination was a Sabine Pilot case. Peine tried to invoke the Sabine Pilot exception by claiming that HIT fired him for refusing to fix the books and falsify financial reports of the company’s earnings.

It turns out that Peine had a confidentiality clause in his employment contract. Because he went behind the company’s back and spoke to a reporter about his legitimate concerns with the company’s accounting practices, he breached his employment contract.

This breach gave his employer cause to argue that the firing had not been for the sole reason of his refusal to engage in criminal activity. Thus, Peine’s lawyers were unable to support the Sabine Pilot exception successfully.

Our Odessa Employment Lawyers Can Help You

If you believe your circumstances fit the unlawful reasons for termination in Odessa, we want to hear from you. At Carabin Shaw, we prioritize client satisfaction. Our attorneys will help you obtain reparations for various types of wrongful termination damages, and we won’t take a dime until we see your employment lawsuit resolved.

We have representatives ready to answer all your questions about filing a successful wrongful termination lawsuit in Odessa, and we will stop at nothing to see you fairly compensated in your unlawful termination case.

For more information related to the unlawful reasons for termination in Odessa, contact the Odessa employment lawyers of Carabin Shaw at our Midland and Odessa office at 432-620-0544. You can also reach us anytime toll-free at 1-800-862-1260.

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

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