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Employment At-Will: Texas

Employment At-Will requirements for other states

Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.

Authors: Shafeeqa W. Giarratani and Kimberly King, Norton Rose Fulbright

Summary

  • Texas strongly adheres to the employment at-will doctrine, under which employment may be terminated at any time, with or without cause. Employees seeking to argue the existence of implied contracts created by employer conduct or documents have a heavy burden to overcome. See Employment At-Will Doctrine, Generally.
  • Employee handbooks and policy manuals constitute general guidelines in the employer/employee relationship and generally do not create implied contracts for employment. See Employment Contracts.
  • Likewise, indefinite verbal exchanges, without clear evidence that the employer intended to be bound to a verbal promise not to terminate an employee, generally will not alter at-will employment status. See Employment Contracts.
  • Texas' Statute of Frauds requires that any verbal promise for employment be reduced to writing if the agreement is not capable of being fully performed in one year. See Employment Contracts.
  • The Texas Supreme Court has recognized a narrow public policy exception to the at-will employment doctrine. See Public Policy Exceptions.
  • Neither the legislature nor the Texas Supreme Court has recognized an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing pertaining to employment relationships. See Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing.
  • Texas recognizes, in very limited circumstances, causes of action for negligent misrepresentation, promissory estoppel, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. See Exceptions in Tort.