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Is your boss trying to quiet fire you?

Texas uses the rule of at-will employment, as do most states. Unless you have a contract saying differently, your employer can fire you at will. 

Yet that does not mean your employer can always terminate your contract. If you suspect their reason for acting is based on certain things, you may be able to bring a legal claim against them. 

Employers cannot fire people based on one of the employee’s protected characteristics, such as race, gender or disability. So an employer cannot let you go just because you are Asian, female or become pregnant.

They also cannot fire you in retaliation for you undertaking a protected activity, such as reporting harassment in your workplace or reporting your employer to the authorities for acting fraudulently. That does not mean they won’t try.

Quiet firing is an attempt to force someone to quit

Let’s say your boss is unhappy that you reported their best friend in the company for sexually harassing you. They know they cannot terminate your contract right now, because you would claim wrongful termination. You’d say they were doing it because of the harassment case you brought.

Instead, they decide to persuade you to leave. Not verbally, but through a series of actions designed to make it uncomfortable for you to stay. It’s known as quiet firing. For example, inviting everyone but you to the work outing. Changing your schedule so that it will make it impossible to pick your child up from school. Or demoting you to a small windowless office and a role that could be done by a junior, rather than someone with your vast experience.

Your boss’s attempts to quiet fire you are just as illegal as outright firing you for an unlawful reason. Learning how to build a case to show this is what they are doing (or have done) can help you protect your rights.