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John, Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 5408
Experience:  Exclusively practice labor and employment law.
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I was red 3 weeks ago to replace an employee that had been

Customer Question

I was hired 3 weeks ago to replace an employee that had been with the company for over 4 years. He had found another job and was close friends with the manager. He trained me prior to leaving. Part of the training covered a specific plastic part that would sometimes snap, break or fall off. Even my manager explained this part and how it happened to her when she did the job. During my time there she always mentioned she talked to the past employee and what a difficult time he was having driving so far to his new jobs, etc.
I had one of these plastic parts fall off and my manager fired me the next day stating I was still on probation. I left and had to go back to return the keys and when I went in her office the guy I replaced was in uniform and working. She fired me to give him his old job back. Is that legal?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  John replied 1 year ago.

Hi, thanks for submitting your question today. My name is***** have over 13 years of legal and consulting experience in this area. I’m happy to assist you with your question today. I'm sorry to hear about your job loss.

Unfortunately, Texas like most states is an employment at will state - meaning you can be disciplined or terminated for any reason that is not otherwise a violation of law. These exceptions are the civil rights protections (e.g., age, race, sex, religion), violations of public policy (e.g., fired for attending jury duty, for refusing to break the law, for reporting illegal activity by the employer (aka a "whistleblower violation"), or having some contractual right to a just cause employment (meaning the employer cannot terminate you without industrial due process - which basically insures a fair and accurate investigation and decision). Without any of these exceptions, courts find that the employer has a legitimate business right to operate its business however it sees fit and the court will not second-guess the employer. These policies and decisions may in fact be awful and clearly not fair or even make good business sense. However, they are not ultimately unlawful.

What the employer did here is not an exception to at will employment. Regardless of your being on probation, the employer could terminate you to hire someone back. It's unfortunate they made up this excuse to terminate you; probably feeling they needed a better answer than "we wanted the old guy back". But the termination is not illegal.

As a consequence the only potential remaining option that you can pursue would be to file for unemployment benefits and claim, quite rightly, that you were terminated 'without cause', and seek unemployment benefits. You would not be able to seek damages but you would be able to contest the termination as being ultimately invalid.

Expert:  John replied 1 year ago.

I believe this answers your question. However, if you need clarification or have follow-up questions regarding this matter, I will be happy to continue our conversation – simply reply to this answer. If you are otherwise satisfied with my response, please leave a positive rating as it is the only way I am able to get credit for my answers. Thank you, ***** ***** wish you all the best with this matter.

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