Visitor Question

Not paid out my accumulated vacation and sick days when terminated?

Submitted By: Sharon (Denton, TX)

I was working for a company for 7 1/2 years, and had taken the place of 4 department supervisors over those years. I was doing an outstanding job, getting raises yearly along with great evaluations from my employees and supervisor. I was making great money. I also had a lot of vacation and sick time accumulated because I was seldom sick or took vacation.

A problem between my supervisor and the owner happened, and after 20 years he was let go. I was asked questions about if I had turned on my supervisor’s light to make it look like he was present. With great pride I told owner never would I do something like that. Also, the door had a key and I did not have access.

I was also asked by owner if I punched the time clock for employees fraudulently. This never happened. The owner was asking my employees these question about me.

I was then let go. It was for no reason, other than new management was going in a different direction. I was given a month’s severance pay and not allowed to get paid out for my numerous hours of vacation and sick time I’d accumulated. I was never asked to sign anything, just walked out the door.

Since then, I’ve had to take a job with lower pay and start my climb back to the top. I feel I was let go for no reason. I find it hard to accept and feel like this has had a huge affect on my life. I had just built a house and will struggle to keep it due to this new decrease in pay.

Is there anything I can do about this? Are they allowed not to pay out my sick time and vacation time I’d accumulated? Can I file a claim? Thank you for any information you can give.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Sharon,

The State of Texas is an “at-will” employment state. This means as an employee you can be fired at any time for just about any reason, and at the whim of your employer.

These are the exceptions:

– An employee may not be fired based on his or her race, color, religion, gender, age, national origin, disability, or sexual orientation.

– An employee can’t be fired because he or she brought illegal activities to the attention of the the police or other government authority.

– For filing various types of claims (OSHA, federal wage and hour, workers’ compensation, employment discrimination, etc.)

– Because the employee was called for jury duty

– Because the employee is on military duty

– Because the employee exercised his or her right to vote

– For engaging in union activity

– For refusing to commit an illegal act

– For failing to carry out an illegal act

– Under a contract of employment, unless the contract has been violated or expires.

Remedies for wrongful termination can include reinstatement, back and future pay, promotion, punitive damages, and an injunction against future illegal conduct. In addition to compensating the employee, the employer can also be made to pay attorney’s fees, expert witness fees, and court costs.

To read more about employment termination in the Stat of Texas go to the Texas Workforce Commission website.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: October 3, 2015

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