Two terms that are often confused where it concerns employee rights are, “right to work,” and “employment at will.” In Texas, “right to work” refers to the choice employees have as to whether they belong to a union and pay associated dues. “Employment at will” is used to describe the fact that either party — employer or employee — can terminate the work relationship at any time and for any reason (aside from those prohibited by law).
There are some exceptions, however, to employment-at-will. The following is a short list of areas employees should be aware of, should issues ever arise.
- Privacy: Employees have a reasonable expectation to privacy inside the workplace. However, employers will often try to negate this by placing clauses in their policies reserving the right to search employees’ desks, etc.
- Government employees: Individuals who work for either the state or federal government may have job protections that private employees don’t. Government employers are obligated to comply with the Texas Constitution and/or the U.S. Constitution, and employees may have a claim for violations of the First Amendment should they be terminated or reprimanded for engaging in protected speech.
- Social media/off-duty conduct: Rather than a single, all-encompassing law, what an employee does while not at work is protected under several laws. Because of this, each instance of employee off-duty conduct must be examined on its own.
Contact our firm if you believe there’s an area in which we can help you.