Texas is an “at will” employment state, which leads many to mistakenly believe that they have no rights if they are unjustly fired from their job. The truth is that there are many exceptions to the “at will” status. No employer has a right to fire an employee in a manner that is in violation of his or her legal rights; this qualifies as wrongful termination.
Wrongful termination covers many types of discharge, including those based on discrimination, firing someone for whistleblowing, and firing someone after they have filed a workers’ compensation claim.
Here, we focus on wrongful termination after filing a workers’ compensation claim, and what our Lewsiville, TX and Carrollton, TX clients should do if they believe they have been wrongfully terminated.
Proving Wrongful Termination
It can be difficult to prove a case of wrongful termination following the filing of a workers’ compensation claim. Employers know that it is illegal to fire someone for filing a workers’ compensation claim, so they will often try to cover up their actions and make-up excuses for the termination.
Dan Atkerson is experienced in employment law and has represented victims of wrongful termination. He knows the type of information that can be used to prove wrongful termination after a workers’ compensation claim, including:
- The timing of the firing: The timing of the termination in regards to the filing of a workers’ compensation claim can provide a big clue as to whether the firing was retaliatory. If a person is fired within days or weeks of filing a claim, it is likely that the two are linked.
- Work environment prior to termination: Another big piece of evidence in wrongful termination cases is the attitudes of others in the work environment, primarily those of supervisors or management. If supervising employers acted upset about the workers’ compensation claim, or made comments to deter the worker from filing the claim, then it is more likely that the termination was a result of the workers’ compensation claim.
- Provided reasons of termination: It is also important to consider the reasons for the termination. If the reasons are unclear, or if the reasons are contradictory to evidence (for example, being fired for poor performance when past evaluations have all been positive), that can strengthen a wrongful termination case.
Protect Your Rights
The best way to protect your rights if you suspect you have been wrongfully terminated after filing a workers’ compensation claim is to work with an experienced employment law attorney such as Dan Atkerson.
Employers often have large legal teams on their side ready to defend their actions, but Dan Atkerson will work to protect the rights of his clients. If wrongful termination is proven, our clients may be due damages, including lost wages, lost benefits, costs associated with looking for a new job, and emotional distress.
If you have recently been fired and you believe it was in violation of your legal rights, contact us at your earliest convenience to discuss the details of your case. Attorney Dan A. Atkerson can recommend the most appropriate course of action based on his extensive knowledge and experience regarding employment law.