Dallas Wrongful Termination Lawyers
Wrongful Termination Claims in Texas
Generally speaking, Texas is an employment-at-will state. This means that employers can fire employees at any time for any reason unless the employee has an employment contract.
However, it is against federal and state law for an employer to fire an employee for certain reasons such as discrimination.
At Lindquist Wood Edwards LLP, our attorneys both employers and employees in claims of wrongful termination.
What is Wrongful Termination?
Wrongful termination is firing an employee for an illegal reason such as:
- Discrimination based on race, age, sex, pregnancy, disability, national origin or another protected status
- Retaliation for engaging in a protected activity such as reporting discrimination, defending another’s claim or reporting a work injury
What Does a Wrongful Termination Defense Lawyer Do?
Many workplaces have a problem employee—the one who causes clients to flee or whose performance is consistently poor. Chances are, this employee will also complain that their termination was illegal, alleging either discrimination or a violation of their employment contract.
At Lindquist Wood Edwards LLP, we can help you defend against a wrongful termination claim by doing the following.
Build a Case for Why the Termination was Lawful
Ideally, you fully documented the reasons why you terminated the employee, including poor performance and any violation of company rules. We can help you pull together evidence, such as:
- Past performance reviews
- Testimony from coworkers or supervisors as to the terminated employee’s performance
- Proof of tardiness, such as clocking in consistently late
Unfortunately, many small and medium-sized businesses do not have adequate policies in place for documenting termination, so we can help you reconstruct an evidentiary record that supports the decision. For example, we can interview coworkers, supervisors, and even customers to build a case that the employee’s performance was poor.
Help Prove You Did Not Discriminate
Discrimination suits are difficult to defend against. They can generate negative coverage for the company and might even inspire other employees to claim discrimination. To prevent a discrimination lawsuit, you will need a lawyer who can:
- Prove that you had legitimate reasons for terminating the employee
- Collect evidence that shows your company does not discriminate on the basis of protected characteristics
- Mount a defense that your policies and procedures do not create a disparate impact on the basis of race, sex, religion, etc.
After an employee files a lawsuit, your company will probably receive an order to preserve all evidence that relates to the claim. This means your company and employees cannot delete relevant emails, destroy records, etc. Even inadvertent destruction can land the company in hot water. To discharge your obligations, you need legal counsel who can establish the proper controls for evidence preservation.
Safeguard Confidentiality and Trade Secrets
Any litigation threatens to expose for public consumption information about your company that is confidential and valuable. Without a lawyer, you might mistakenly submit sensitive information to a court, which makes it public. Your wrongful termination defense lawyers can carefully screen confidential information and make sure anything sensitive is submitted to the court under protective seal.
Help Negotiate a Severance Agreement
Many wrongful termination disputes end with the employee accepting a severance agreement in exchange for releasing their claim against your company. Negotiating effectively requires legal counsel, who can assess relative risks and aggressively keep down the costs of severance. If effective, a severance agreement can make a troublesome employee go away for good
What Does a Wrongful Termination Plaintiff Lawyer Do?
When an employer terminates you without a legal right to do so, you might be able to bring a lawsuit. Read on for more information about how a wrongful termination lawyer can help you.
Build Your Case
To prevail in your suit, you need to show that the employer had no legal justification for firing you. This will depend on the circumstances:
- If an employer fired you for a discriminatory reason, you will need proof you were targeted because of your race, color, nationality, sex, religion, age, disability, or genetic information.
- If you quit because your workplace was hostile, you will need proof of severe and widespread offensive behavior, like jokes, slurs, epithets, or inappropriate touching.
- If your employer retaliated against you for engaging in protected activity, you will need proof of a retaliatory motive.
- If your employer fired you in violation of a contract, you must gather proof that you complied with the terms of your employment and that your employer did not.
To find evidence that will support your claim, a wrongful termination lawyer can do the following:
- Interview witnesses
- Request internal documents, such as a copy of your personnel file
- Retrieve communications, such as emails
Gathering evidence takes time and legal knowledge. For example, you might need to subpoena records from a third party, which can be complicated for non-lawyers to figure out how to do. By hiring a lawyer, you will put together the strongest case possible.
File a Discrimination Charge
Before you can sue for discrimination or harassment, you will need to file a charge of discrimination with the federal or state government. A wrongful termination lawyer can help you get all your facts together and file the charge in a timely manner.
You might also see your employer’s position statement in response to your charge. A lawyer can help analyze the weaknesses in your employer’s position and make counter-arguments.
File a Lawsuit
In some situations, you can go directly to court and file a wrongful termination lawsuit. Your lawyer can identify the correct court to sue in and file the appropriate paperwork. Lawsuits are long and technical, which is why having an experienced lawyer in your corner is so vital.
For example, do you know what to do if the defendant alleges you filed your lawsuit in the wrong court? A lawyer can take your case all the way to trial and win financial compensation.
Negotiate a Settlement
Many lawsuits never get to trial because the parties settle. A skilled lawyer can maximize the amount of compensation you receive for being unjustly terminated and possibly get your job back (if that is what you want).
You can be sure that your employer will have high-powered lawyers in their corner, so you need someone looking out for your best interests.
Learn More: Texas Wrongful Termination Articles
- Wrongful Termination Laws in Texas
- Understanding At-Will Employment in Texas
- Constructive Discharge in Texas
- Wrongful Termination Statute of Limitations in Texas
- How Long Does a Wrongful Termination Case Take to Resolve?
Contact a Dallas Wrongful Termination Lawyer Today
Let us make sure your rights are represented. Our team will surround you with the support and resources you need. Take a moment and learn how we can help in your wrongful termination matter. Call 214-382-9789.