The Jackson Law Firm

Man unable to prove he was protected by Texas employment rule

Sometimes a former employee will resort to dishonest methods to "get back" at a company for dismissing him or her. We hear of cases all the time about employees suing their former employers for sexual harassment, discrimination, and more. In other cases, the former employee can be found guilty of making up information and documents in an attempt to prove the company was in the wrong.

A steel salesman sued his former employer, Texas-based Sentry Supply Inc. dba Superior Supply & Steel, for wrongful termination. The man claimed protection under a Texas rule that says employers can't fire a worker for refusing to perform an illegal act. However, the court ruled in the company's favor, saying he falsified expense reports.

The man alleged his former boss, the vice president of the Houston fittings division, told him and other coworkers that a condition of their employment was to take existing and potential clients to strip clubs. When the man allegedly told his employer he felt the strip club visits were inappropriate, he said he was fired. He said the company used the pretext of his falsifying expense reports as justification for his termination.

However, the judge ruled that Superior had provided strong evidence that the man falsified four reports. Because the worker had admitted to making up fake expense reports as a cover for getting additional funds for the strip club visits, the judge said he had deliberately participated in illegal activity, which voided his claim of wrongful termination.

Many times the media will play up a former employee as the victim, but this case shows that companies have the right to defend their actions.

Source: Courthouse News Service, “Strip Club Spite Didn’t Cause Firing,” Cameron Langford, July 11, 2013

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