Does signing a contract supersede at-will employment?

On Behalf of | Apr 3, 2020 | employment law | 0 comments

Texas allows its businesses to hire and fire people under the employment at-will doctrine. Provided that employers do not violate civil rights laws, they may fire you at any time and for any reason. However, if you have signed an employment contract, you may have some added protection against a sudden firing. 

Employment contracts generally spell out the terms of how an employer will hire you and the duties you will perform for the employer. A contract may also explain the grounds for the employer to fire you. By spelling out how the workplace can terminate you, the workplace has likely set aside the employment at-will provision of the state. 

Contract provisions 

If you have signed a contract, examine it for any requirements for employment termination. Some contracts explain that the employer may fire someone for misconduct or illegal activity. Other workplaces may go further than that. Their contracts may state that they can fire you for cause. This could mean your workplace could fire you if you lack the capacity to perform your job. 

Kinds of contracts 

Many contracts are in written form. However, courts do not limit enforceable contracts to written documents. A workplace can offer a contract through an oral promise to hire you, which may include setting down the terms of your employment. Some contracts are more implied, but nonetheless, they can still bind an employer and a worker. An employee handbook, though not explicitly a contract, may describe the relationship between worker and employer. 

Because employment contracts may take different forms, you have various ways you may show how your workplace has defined its relationship with you, including the behavioral and performance requirements it has set forth. Should your workplace fire you in violation of its own stated policies, you may have grounds for a wrongful termination claim.