Are you an “at-will” employee?

On Behalf of | Aug 30, 2021 | Uncategorized | 1 comment

You understand that the potential of losing your job in Texas is ever-present. However, you may not necessarily fear such a potential given the assumption that as long as you do not give your employer a reason to fire you, it cannot. Yet that may not be the case.

A legal principle exists known as “at-will” employment, meaning that any party to an employment agreement is at its own will. This essentially means that your employer may terminate your employment at any time (without needing to give you a valid reason). The question then becomes whether the state of Texas subscribes to this philosophy.

Defining Texas’ employment philosophy

According to information shared by the Texas Workforce Commission, it indeed does. Thus, unless you have a written or expressed agreement with your employer specifying which conduct might get you fired, your job may be subject to your employer’s will. At first glance, this principle may appear to grossly favor your employer (seemingly stripping you of many of your employment rights). Yet at-will employment also benefits you in that it provides you with the opportunity to leave your current job to progress in your career whenever you want.

Identifying exceptions to at-will employment

Yet simply because Texas subscribes to the at-will employment philosophy does not mean that there are no exceptions to this rule. Indeed, the TWC states one of them to be the “public policy” exception, meaning your employer cannot fire you if doing so violates public policy (an example might be firing you for you refusing to engage in illegal activity). Other exceptions that you may try to cite are you having an implied contract (i.e., employment policies suggesting guaranteed employment from adherence to them) and an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing (which bars your employer from firing you to avoid offering you an earned benefit).