What Is “Good Cause” for Termination?
Texas is an at-will employment state, meaning that employers and employees have the right to terminate employment at any time without providing a reason. However, if a worker has an employee contract, the contract can stipulate that the employer has “good cause” before ending the terms of employment.
A contract that requires termination for good cause puts employees in a much better position than they would be under the state’s at-will status. However, employees should understand what qualifies as “good cause” for termination. Here, employment law attorney Dan A. Atkerson, who serves Allen, TX, Plano, TX, Frisco, TX, and surrounding areas, goes over behaviors and situations that would warrant good cause for termination.
Defining “Good Cause” for Termination
Under the terms of Texas law, “good cause” for termination is an employee’s failure to perform the duties that a person of ordinary prudence in the industry would perform under similar circumstances. This definition is fairly vague, so many employers and employees are unsure of the specific circumstances that qualify as good cause for termination. Ideally, an employee contract should specifically outline what constitutes good cause for termination under the terms of employment.
Examples of Good Cause
If the terms of good cause for termination are not defined in an employee contract and there is a dispute about the validity of a firing, then it is up to the court to decide if the termination was justified. Generally speaking, good cause for termination does not include dissatisfaction with an employee’s work or an economic reduction in force. Instead, good cause for termination often involves more overt errors or acts of insubordination, such as:
- Failure to follow clear and reasonable rules or orders from an employer
- Failure to comply with safety rules or regulations
- Dishonesty on the job or retaining the job under false pretenses
- Misconduct towards fellow employees or harassment of fellow employees
- Removal of employer property
- Fraud or embezzlement
- Violation of federal, state, or local law
- Use of drugs or alcohol on the job
- Carrying weapons into the workplace
What to Do if an Employee Contract Has Been Violated
If an employee has been fired and they believe that it is against the terms of a good cause for termination clause in an employee contract, they should contact a knowledgeable employment law attorney, such as Dan A. Atkerson. Mr. Atkerson and his team examine the details of a termination to determine if a worker’s rights have been violated. If so, employees may be due financial compensation for losses associated with breach of contract and/or wrongful termination. Potential damages in these types of cases include lost wages, emotional pain and suffering, and court costs and attorney fees.
Get in Touch
Even in an at-will employment state such as Texas, employees can be victims of wrongful termination. If you have been terminated and believe that it is in violation of your employee rights, attorney Dan A. Atkerson can help you explore your legal options. To discuss the details of your case contact our law firm online, or call (214) 383-3606.