Texas Is a Right-to-Work State: What Does That Mean?
There are numerous employment laws in place to provide employees with certain rights and protections. Some of these laws exist on the federal level, while others are enacted by the state government. In Texas, state labor laws guarantee citizens a “right-to-work.”
Here, employment attorney Dan A. Atkerson explains what the right-to-work law means, and helps workers in Allen, TX, Plano, TX, Frisco, TX, and across the state understand how the Texas right-to-work law applies to them and their legal options regarding union membership.
What Is the Right-to-Work?
The right-to-work law is also known as the Workplace Freedom or Workplace Choice law. Right-to-work law addresses labor unions and an employee’s rights regarding union membership, bargaining rights, and the collection of union dues.
The right-to-work law states that “a person cannot be denied employment based on membership or nonmembership in a labor union.” The law further guarantees every employee the right to bargain freely with their employer, individually or collectively, for the terms of their employment. Finally, the right-to-work law prevents the withholding of union dues from employment compensation without the employee’s written consent to the retention of those funds.
How Does The Right-to-Work Affect Texas Employees?
Without a legal background, the typical employee may not understand exactly how the right-to-work law applies to them. Essentially, this law gives employees the freedom to choose whether they will be a member of a labor union or not, and whether they will pay union membership dues.
If a place of employment already has a union in place, and a person opts not to join it, they cannot be denied employment on that basis. If an employment contract requires that employees must be or remain union members as a term of employment, that contract is legally void. Similarly, an employer cannot deny employment because an applicant or employee is already a member of a labor union or chooses to join a union.
The Right-to-Work and At-Will Employment
Like most other states, Texas is an at-will employment state. In an at-will employment state, an employer or employee can terminate employment at any time for any reason (or without giving any reason at all). Many wonder how the at-will employment law affects the right-to-work law.
The one caveat to the at-will employment law is that an employee cannot be terminated for a reason that directly conflicts with existing employment laws. This basically means that it is illegal to fire someone on the basis of discrimination or retaliation. Under the right-to-work law, it is also illegal to fire (or deny employment to) a Texas employee on the basis of their decision to join or not join a labor union.
What If I Believe My Rights Have Been Violated?
Even though employment laws are in place to protect workers, employers routinely violate employee rights. Individuals who believe that their right-to-work has been breached should file a report with the office of the Attorney General. Workers should also contact an employment attorney, such as Dan A. Atkerson, who can help them explore their legal options regarding a civil lawsuit.
Get In Touch
If you have been terminated or denied employment, and you believe it is a result of your choice regarding union membership, attorney Dan A. Atkerson would like to help you consider your best course of legal action. To discuss the details of your situation, contact us online at your earliest convenience, or call (214) 383-3606 and schedule a legal consultation.