A Texas appellate court affirmed summary judgment for an employer in a wrongful termination suit. Marx v. Electronic Data Sys. Corp., No. 07-08-0022-CV (Tex. App.—Amarillo June 30, 2009), available at http://www.7thcoa.courts.state.tx.us/opinions/htmlopinion.asp?OpinionId= 13365. Ronald Marx alleged that he was forced to leave EDS after the company made job conditions difficult following his refusal to fraudulently overbill a client. EDS argued that Marx had no evidence to support his claim, and the trial court agreed.
While Texas employers can discharge at-will employees for almost any reason, an exception exists: An employer may not discharge an employee for the sole reason that the employee refused to perform an illegal act. This doctrine applies when an employee is “constructively discharged”: when an employer makes job conditions so difficult that a reasonable person would feel compelled to resign. Here, the Court found that Marx’s testimony regarding his co-worker’s billing practices and his supervisor’s suggestions that Marx bill in a similar manner did not constitute evidence that EDS required Marx to engage in fraudulent overbilling. Further, no evidence showed that the adverse actions to which Marx testified led him to quit (insults from co-workers, a salary reduction, and discipline) occurred solely because he refused to perform an illegal act. Thus, the Court affirmed summary judgment.
If you would like to discuss an employment law issue with an employment law attorney, please contact the employment lawyers at Clouse Dunn Khoshbin LLP at [email protected].
Press Release Contact Information:KEITH A. CLOUSE – /cdklawyers.com/Keith Clouse – Dallas Business Litigation Attorney/ 08/17/2009 Clouse Dunn
Khoshbin LLP 214.220.2722
214.220.3833 ( fax)