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Employment Law Frequently Asked Questions

Last updated on July 4, 2022

Navigating the world of employment law can be overwhelming. Our team at Rosenberg & Associates can assist you with the numerous regulations, administrative procedures and deadlines of Texas employment law. Many of our clients come to us with questions about their predicaments. From filing a workers’ compensation claim to ending sexual harassment in the workplace, we can fill in everything you need to know. On this page, we have compiled a list of some of the questions we hear most frequently.

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What does ’employment at will’ really mean?

All it means is that in Texas, and most states, is that an employer can fire an employee for a good reason, a bad reason or no reason at all. It also means that an employee can quit at any time, for any reason. There are three basic exceptions:

1) An employer cannot discriminate on the basis of any manner contained in this website, such as age, race, gender or disability. There are many other forms of wrongful discharge type exceptions contained in this website.

2) An exception to “employment at will” is obviously a contract of employment, either written or oral, that limits an employer’s ability to end employment or limits an employee’s ability to quit.

3) The only judicially created exception to the employment at will doctrine is known as the Sabine Pilot exception (named after the case that established it) or the “public policy” exception that makes it illegal for an employer to fire somebody who refuses to perform an illegal act.

I’ve heard that Texas is a ‘right-to-work’ state. What does this mean?

This is most often confused with the employment at will doctrine, but really is quite different. Being a “right to work” state simply means that if your employer is covered by a collective bargaining agreement, you cannot be denied employment simply because you are not a union member.

How do I know whether or not my employer has enough employees to be sued for employment discrimination?

Generally, under most statutes, the minimum amount is 15 employees. For some, such as disability, it is 20. Other statutes, such as some health care whistleblower statutes, there are no minimums on number of employees. Also, be aware of what is known as a “single integrated enterprise” where two companies that have commonality in things such as ownership and human resources can be joined together to meet minimum levels.

Is my employer large enough to be covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?

An employer, to be covered under the FMLA, must have 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius.

How long do I have to work for an employer before I am covered under the FMLA?

1250 hours within the preceding 12 months.

What are my time limits to do something about employment discrimination?

Every statute is different and it even depends on where you want to file suit (for example, federal or state court.) The law is tricky as to when the clock actually starts. If you fill out the questionnaire, we will help you figure it out, but the general rule is that there is a 180-day limit to file for discrimination if you want to bring suit in state court and 300 days for federal court. This is not exclusive as different statutes have different limits. We are happy to answer any of these questions if you fill out and send the attached questionnaire.

Why do I need to file with the EEOC?

The EEOC and its state companion, the Texas Workforce Commission – Civil Rights Division, are jurisdictional prerequisites, meaning that if you don’t first file with these agencies, your suit will be precluded.

What does a ‘right to sue’ mean, and how hard is it to get?

All it means is that the EEOC has completed its investigation and you are ready to file suit. You can get a right to sue simply by asking for it after your charge has been on file for 180 days or the EEOC will issue one after it completes its investigation.

The EEOC didn’t find discrimination in my case. Am I out of luck?

Definitely not. The issuance of a right to sue generally gives you a fresh start. We have obtained successful results even when the EEOC does not find in the employee’s favor.

Still Have Questions? Ask Us In Person.

This page is a brief overview of some of the questions we hear. Without a doubt, there are still things that you want to learn. Reach out to our office in Houston to schedule a consultation in which you can sit down with our lawyers in person. To schedule an appointment, send us an email or call 713-369-5978.