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What is Sabine Pilot Retaliation? Wrongful Termination Attorneys

Texas employment laws uphold that Texas is an at-will employment state, meaning that employers generally have the power to hire and fire as they see fit. But what if you are asked to do something at work that you may believe to be illegal, or even criminal in nature? In cases where a worker refuses an order because they believe it might be illegal, there are exceptions to Texas’ at-will laws. Workers in Midland faced with termination for failure to comply in illegal activities should be protected, and may even be eligible for compensation.

Provided that a worker’s refusal to engage in the illegal or criminal nature of their orders is the sole reason for their firing, an employer may be able to obtain compensation. At Carabin Shaw, we believe no worker should feel cornered into blind obedience to a superior or confronted with the choice of either compliance in illegal acts or termination of employment.

What Is Sabine Pilot Retaliation?

Wrongful termination attorneys can help an employee by upholding whistleblower protection in the event of employee retaliation. But what is Sabine Pilot retaliation? Wrongful termination attorneys in Midland can fight for you that employees should be able to stand up in the face of an employment lawsuit.

Sabine Pilot claims refer to judge-made exceptions to Texas’ general at-will employment policy. The exception protects an employee from being fired for refusing to commit an illegal act or comply with illegal or criminal orders. The terminated employee must, however, be able to prove that the refusal of the act was the sole reason for termination.

Hauck v. Sabine Pilot

The Sabine Pilot exception was formed in the 1985 case of Michael Hauck v. Sabine Pilot. Hauck was a deckhand who was asked by his superiors to empty the contents of the bilge into surrounding waters. Hauck refused an order from his superiors that he perceived to be illegal.

Hauck noticed signs that clearly stated that this action was illegal. He refused his orders, and was then put on leave. When Hauck took legal action against Sabine Pilot, they attempted to argue that his termination was also due to his refusing to complete other menial tasks like swabbing the deck. But eventually, Hauck was able to prove that it was solely his failure to empty the contents of the bilge that brought about his firing. The Sabine Pilot rule was born.

By ruling in favor of the protection of Hauck’s whistleblower rights, the court set a new precedent for Texans who have been fired from a job after refusing to commit an illegal action. But these cases can be long and arduous processes too.

As Hauck v. Sabine Pilot demonstrates, attempting to invoke this exception to prove wrongful termination isn’t impossible, but it will require guidance and proper legal representation.

Our Midland Employment Lawyers Can Help!

The attorneys at Carabin Shaw have more than 20 years of experience protecting the rights of workers in Midland. With the guidance of a Midland attorney, you may be able to obtain compensation for a number of damages. Some of the most common include:

  • Loss of wages
    • Usually the most obvious and immediate repercussion of job loss is the loss of a steady source of income.
  • Loss of future wages
    • With the loss of your job or increasing difficulty in obtaining future work, the opportunity to obtain future wages and the overall financial security of you and your family could be at stake.
  • Reputational harm/Defamation
    • If your firing was unjustified, or involved defamation of your reputation in the workplace, it could also affect your ability to get work moving forward.
  • Pain and suffering
    • Losing your job, especially under unfair circumstances, can lead to all sorts of mental obstacles. It can lead to depression and mental anguish. Pain and suffering can also include many types of emotional harm, even costs associated with therapy and counseling.
  • Loss of benefits
    • Many companies provide benefits packages like health care and retirement funds. If you lose access to these upon termination and suddenly find yourself without full coverage of these benefits, it can make a difficult financial time even more complicated.

For more information about Sabine Pilot retaliation, what it is, and how a wrongful termination attorneycan help, contact the lawyersfrom Carabin Shaw today. Our Midland employment lawyers serve clients in Midland and the surrounding area. Call us toll free at 800-862-1260 anytime, day or night.

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

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