In this economy, nobody wants to be fired or laid off, especially if the action is unlawful. But in such cases, a fired or laid-off employee may have legal recourse to get her job back, or at least some lost wages.
An ex-employee with Mental Health and Mental Retardation of Harris County has sued the agency for wrongful termination, according to The Southeast Texas Record. Yvette Hand's lawsuit claims she was fired because of her age and sex. She had been working at MHMR as a licensed professional healing arts therapist.
Hand alleges there was a plan to harass her until she resigned, and claims she was fired for false reasons when the plan did not work, according to the Record.
Was this termination wrongful?
As we all know, Texas is an "at will" employment state. This means that you can quit whenever you want, or get fired whenever the employer wants, for no reason or for any legal reason. The only thing that changes "at will" employment is an employment contract.
Working "at will" stops many wrongful termination claims in their tracks. However, if you have been fired for an illegal reason like race, gender, or sex discrimination, you could have a legitimate claim for wrongful termination.
In Yvette Hand's lawsuit, she may have a successful case against MHMR. Age discrimination protection applies to those who are 40 or older, and Hand is 40. But Hand will still need to prove that it was her age or gender that caused her to be fired.
As with most wrongful termination claims, if MHMR can show that there was no discrimination in the firing, Yvette Hand's lawsuit will go away. We'll have to see if MHMR can produce evidence that counters Hand's claims.
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