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RobertJDFL, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 11987
Experience:  Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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I am a nurse practitioner. I was Laid off on May 10, 2013,

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I am a nurse practitioner. I was Laid off on May 10, 2013, I was told in the lay off meeting that I had done nothing wrong and that I will get a recommendation from the Internal Medicine chief. I did not get any severance I was told that My last day at work will be June 24 2013 and my medical insurance and other benefits will be paid until then, I will get paid also my unpaid vacation and personal days. While I was still employed i had a feeling that they were hiding things from me. i got a telephone call today May 24 from an employee that works there and she told me that another nurse practitioner showed up today to work in my place. This tells me that she was hired before my lay off. The new NP is African, I am White of middle eastern decent, plus I have multiple sclerosis with no disability, my medications are very expensive and probably cost the company a lot of money. I know I did my job well. why would they do something to me like this. is it legal. I live in Houston, Texas.

Thank you for your question.

Texas is an "at will" employment state, meaning unless you had an employment contract or a union agreement, which may have given you more rights on the job, an employer may terminate you at any time, for any reason, with or without cause. You can be an excellent, beloved employee, and still be terminated just because they feel like it, or because the sky is blue, or because the Cowboys haven't won a superbowl in years -the reason doesn't matter, in other words. No one can tell you why your employer would do this to you, of course - only that legally speaking, they don't even need a reason or even have to give you a reason, unforunately.

That said, an employer cannot terminate an employee for an unlawful reason -their age (over 40), race, religion, sex, disability or national origin. You have suspicions that they may have terminated you for unlawful reasons -you even say that you believe that your employer was hiding things from you - but suspicions alone are not going to be enough to have a successful claim. Granted, they terminated you and hired a minority, but that in itself is not evidence of discrimination. It certainly could be, don't get me wrong - but it would be easy for the employer to come up with some reason for hiring them that doesn't sound discriminatory as well.

Did anything ever happen at your job to suggest you were being discriminated against? For example, were you harassed at work due to your race or national origin? Were you given different assignments, or denied promotions or other benefits that your co-workers received even though you were equally qualified, etc?

If you believe you were terminated unlawfully, the first thing you must do is file a complaint with the Texas Workforce Commission, which will dual file it with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

When you file a complaint, you will be offered the opportunity to try to resolve any dispute through mediation/dispute resolution. If you decline, then the matter will be turned over to an investigator. If the investigation does not turn up any evidence of discrimination (note that the time to complete an investigation from the time you file can take months, given the amount of complaints filed), you will still be issued a "Right to Sue" letter, after which you will have 90 days from the date of the letter to file a lawsuit, should you desire to do so.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

you know the person they hired I know from my past she is less qualified than me to do the job, perhaps they are paying her less.


That may be - but if you feel this was discrimination in any way, you may still wish to file a complaint and see if the TWC will investigate.
Did you have any follow-up questions I could answer for you? If not, kindly remember to leave a positive rating, as that is the only way I am credited for my time and assistance.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

thanks for writing back. Its a shame that people can do this to you. It does not make any sense.

I will give you a good feedback, thanks for your time,