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Law Offices of Dan A. Atkerson

The Fine Lines: Firing an Employee with a Contract

By Dan Atkerson on August 21, 2015

Employment agreement contractAn employer’s ability to fire an employee with a contract is greatly limited. The employee has a right to fair dealing and a heavy amount of protection due to the contract. The problem is that determining if you even have a contract is sometimes difficult.

An employee contract does not have to be explicitly written down. A contract can be oral or even implied, and is equally binding. In many cases, an employer will accidently restrict themselves by unintentionally creating oral or implied contracts with their employees.

Some examples of an oral contract are as follows:

  • Being offered a job over the phone that you then accept.
  • The employer asks you for a commitment of time to the job, like a year, and you accept.
Some examples of implied contracts are as follows:
  • If you were told you would be a “permanent employee” after you go through a probation period, usually of 90 days.
  • Being assured that you will have a long future at the company during an evaluation.
  • A potential employer says that they won’t fire you unless you are making big mistakes when they are trying to persuade you during hiring.
Whether or not you have an oral or implied contract rarely comes up before you are fired. If it is determined that you do not have a contract, then you can be fired for any legal reason. Texas is an “employment at will” state, meaning that you have to provide good evidence that there is an employment contract.
  • Poor performance
  • Sexual harassment
  • Disobeying instructions
  • Violence
  • Excessive tardiness or absence
  • Breaking company policy
  • Disrupting coworkers
The important thing to remember is that you have a right to be treated fairly. Firing an employee with a contract with no “good cause” could be grounds for a breach of contract. The employment contract, even if not written down, is relied upon by employees for security, and promises like that should not be easily disregarded.

Atkerson Law – Dallas employment lawyer

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