Texas is an "at will" state which means that an employee can be fired at any time for good cause, for bad cause or no cause at all. However, you cannot be fired for having a disability or a protected status covered by the Civil Rights Act (Title VII), the Americans with Disabilities Act or the Age Discrimination Act. These laws state that you cannot be fired simply because of your race, color, religion, national origin, gender, disability or age if you are 40 or older.
- The amount that you will be paid;
- Details of your work assignment;
- How long you will be employed;
- Any special circumstances or benefits.
Yes. A company can insist that you keep secret any:
- trade secrets
- techniques or processes;
- customer lists
- marketing strategies
If you make any improper revelations, you could be liable for economic damages the business incurs.
You can file a complaint with the Texas Workforce Commission under the Texas Payday Act. If your grievance is found to be meritorious, then the employer can be ordered to give you all back pay and may be fined by the state for their actions.
You cannot be lawfully terminated:
- when the contract stipulates a time period that you will be employed.
- as retaliation for filing a worker's compensation claim.
- when an employee serves on a jury.
- when an employee refuses to participate in an employer ordered criminal act.
- when an employee is deployed to active duty in the armed services and requests protection under the Service Members Civil Relief Act (SMCRA).
Yes. There is not recognized "whistle blower" protection in the private sector in Texas. If you are working for a state or federal agency, that may be another matter.
The most well-publicized form of harassment in the workplace is sexual harassment, which is a type of sexual discrimination. There are three types of sexual harassment now recognized as creating liability for a business.
- "Quid pro quo," or being forced to have sex with a superior in order to keep your job or to get a promotion, etc.
- Hostile environment from a supervisor or higher-ranking person.
- Hostile environment from a co-worker or visitor to the company.
No. Recent court decisions have expanded hostile environment claims to all of the protected classes, including race, color, religion, nationality, gender, age or disability.
Yes. The Civil Rights Act (known as Title VII) protects employees from discrimination based on their race, color, religion, national origin, gender, disability or age if you are 40 or older. Courts have ruled that there is liability even if the victim is the same gender as the harasser. However, sexuality is not usually considered a protected status. Thus, it is possible that you could successfully file a claim for harassment from a coworker of the same gender but be fired for being gay yourself.
The fact that different people are offended by different actions makes a set definition impossible. However, the guidelines offered by the courts and the EEOC state that the act(s) of the perpetrator must be: severely offensive or moderate acts that are frequently repeated and not consensual. In order to be actionable, the actions must also be repugnant to a reasonable person. Therefore, occasional sexual jokes, some casual touching or asking in the workplace for a date on several instances are generally not considered Title VII violations
Follow the procedures outlined in your employee manual or contract (if you received one). In addition, file a complaint with the Texas Workforce Commission's Civil Rights Division. More information, contact numbers and forms can be found at Texas Workforce Commission.
Information about laws and regulation about discrimination and information on filing discrimination charges.
Information about employment discrimination and complaints that TWC handles, plus payday, child labor and minimum wage requirements, complaint procedures, deadlines and more.
Before you apply for a job, it is advised to do a background check on yourself as you don't want any surprises. Sometimes victims of identity theft could have criminal records pop up when they least expect it.
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Tips and forms.
A complete text of the United States Internal Revenue Code.