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Texas Supreme Court could alter employment law landscape

When an employee is fired under suspicious circumstance, it could be something blatant (such as discrimination, or a retaliatory act) or the victim could just have a feeling that something was not right about the firing. In either case, though, the employer is unlikely to simply admit to their illegal tactics. They will attempt to hide or cover up their motives for the firing; and even if the evidence is blatant, they are going to rigorously defend any legal action against them.

This does not mean employees are powerless when they are wrongfully let go from their position. However, the Texas Supreme Court is reviewing a discrimination lawsuit victory for the plaintiff that could alter the course of employment-related lawsuits in the state.

A doctor left the Medical Center at the University of Texas Southwestern in 2006 after claiming he was harassed and discriminated against. Specifically, he says he was offered a job which was soon withdrawn because a supervisor at the medical center advised against hiring him. The lawsuit that followed went in his favor, earning him a $3 million judgment.

But this ruling has been appealed by the medical center, which claims that the doctor should have to prove that the improper motive he alleged directly correlated to the adverse action taken against him. Past lawsuits in this regard simply had to prove that the improper motive existed, and that it was at least part of the reason for the adverse action. If this appeal is upheld, there will be a greater burden of proof on wrongfully terminated employees who allege discrimination or retaliation.

Source: Associated Press, "Supreme Court To Review Texas Hospital's Discrimination Lawsuit Win," Jan. 18, 2013

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