Most employees in Texas and in the U.S. work under a system known as “at-will employment.” This means that employers can terminate employees without having to provide an explanation. This does not mean, however, that an employer can fire an employee for any reason. Employers are legally prevented from terminating an employee under many circumstances, including termination based on discrimination or harassment or as retaliation.

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Despite at-will employment laws, employers cannot fire an employee because of a characteristic – such as age, race, religion, disability, gender or ethnicity – that is protected under state and/or federal laws.

It is also wrongful termination if an employer fires an employee who refuses to follow an order that would violate the law or who has filed a complaint about a violation or mistreatment in the workplace. It is also illegal if an employer uses termination as “payback,” retribution or reprisal for reporting illegal or unsafe working conditions.