Many people in the workforce have a misconception of what wrongful termination is. It is true that Texas is an “at-will” employment state. “At-will” employment means that employers and employees can end their employment relationship at any time; as long as it is not based on discrimination. Therefore, wrongful termination must be based on discrimination as a result of you being in a protected class. The protected classes are race, religion, age (over 40), gender/sex (including pregnancy and sexual orientation), disability, national origin and color. If you believe you may have been wrongfully terminated and a motivating factor in your termination was your race, religion, age (over 40), gender/sex (including pregnancy and sexual orientation, disability national origin or color, it is important to speak with an experienced Houston employment lawyer as soon as possible so that you can learn all of your rights and understand what actions you can take.
In most wrongful termination cases, you must file a Charge of Discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) before filing a lawsuit. You can file an EEOC Charge of Discrimination on your own, however, consulting an attorney before you file a Charge of Discrimination is recommended. Without an attorney representing you, there’s a chance that you could check the wrong box (regarding the type of claim you are asserting) on your Charge of Discrimination; or omit checking a box on your Charge of Discrimination that you should check. Either of these scenarios can be harmful to your case because after a certain amount of time, you will not be able to amend your charge later.
Furthermore, there are certain strategies in drafting the Charge of Discrimination that an experienced Employment attorney will implement to present your case to the EEOC. These effective strategies can result in the EEOC referring your case to mediation. Having the EEOC refer your case to mediation is ideal because mediation is an opportunity to settle your case without having to wait for the EEOC to go through their investigation process. A Houston employment lawyer experiences in wrongful termination cases can help assure your charge is correct and includes all forms of discrimination that may be applicable to your situation.
There are also certain strict time limitations on filing an EEOC Charge of Discrimination. If you miss the deadline to file your Charge of Discrimination, you will not be able to proceed with your wrongful termination case. Additionally, your employer must have a certain number of employees to be subject to the federal and state anti-discrimination laws. Your former employer usually takes your case more seriously when they know you are represented by a reputable Houston employment attorney experienced in wrongful termination cases; and this usually results in a more favorable outcome for you.
If you did file your Charge of Discrimination by yourself with the EEOC and are issued a right to sue letter, you should be aware that there are many procedural and technical rules that are involved in filing a lawsuit against your former employer. The Court will not have any mercy on you because you are filing your lawsuit pro se. You will be held to the same standards as a licensed attorney if you decide to represent yourself in your lawsuit. This is a definite advantage for your former employer because they will have counsel. If you handled the EEOC process and receive a right to sue letter, contact a Houston employment attorney as soon as you receive the letter. If you wait until right before the deadline to file your lawsuit, it decreases your chances of retaining an Attorney because they may not have the time to accurately assess your case and timely file your lawsuit.
If you have read this and feel that your termination was discriminatory because you are a member of a protected class, please contact Leeds Law Firm about your potential case and speak with a Houston employment attorney with significant experience successfully representing clients in wrongful termination cases in both state and federal court. We will evaluate your potential case and determine if we will be able to represent you.
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