Texas is an “employment at will” state. This means that employers are free to terminate employees for any reason. In fact, in an employment at will state like Texas, the law does not require companies to even have a reason to fire someone. Luckily there are some exceptions to this general rule. One exception is if you have an employment contract that sets forth the circumstances under which your employer may terminate your employment. Depending on the contract, your employer may promise that it will not terminate your employment unless certain enumerated conditions exist. Or your employer can keep it general, and promise to only fire you for “good cause,” or other similar language.
If you have a binding employment contract that limits your employer’s ability to fire you, you have a measure of job security that most Texans do not have. However, as is often the case with Texas employment law, the devil is in the details. Because of the strong presumption of employment at will, an employment contract must meet certain requirements in order to be binding. For example, to alter the rule of employment at will, the contract must provide for a specific duration. If it is an open-ended contract of unspecified duration, a court will not likely find that it is a binding employment contract that acts to limit your employer’s ability to fire you.
If your employer has breached your employment contract it is important to consult with an experienced labor and employment attorney to learn whether you have an enforceable employment contract, your rights under the contract, the damages available to you for your employer’s breach, and the risks and benefits associated with litigating a breach of employment contract lawsuit.