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Jury awards $183,000 for wrongful termination

Most companies in Texas have employee handbooks, policies and procedures in place to inform their workers about company regulations expectations. One item typically included within such a handbook is disciplinary procedures and steps that will be taken in the event that a worker chooses not to follow company policies and rules. It is reasonable to expect workers to abide by the information contained within the employee handbook. A jury in another state has also indicated that the company is responsible for abiding by the information contained within this same employee handbook. It returned a verdict in favor of the employee in her wrongful termination claim against her employer.

In one instance, a hospital's employee handbook provided for specific disciplinary procedures to be taken when necessary. One of the workers in the hospital violated company policy by accessing medical records of one of her family members. Officials fired her over these actions.

The hospital's employee handbook stated that policy violations should result in progressive disciplinary action. Rather than one violation immediately leading to termination, the employee should have been counseled, warned, placed on probation or some other such action should have been taken in an effort to allow the employee to correct her behavior. By moving immediately to termination, the hospital chose to ignore its own policies and procedures, as outlined in its employee handbook.

A jury agreed with the terminated employee and awarded her $183,000 for wrongful termination. Employees throughout Texas are expected to abide by the employee handbooks that they are typically given upon beginning employment with a company. Additionally, by placing such information in writing and giving it to employees, companies are expected to abide by their written statements. Individuals who feel that they are the victim of a wrongful termination have legal rights that they may wish to review in deciding the proper course of action.

Source: mlive.com, "Jurors order Hurley to pay $183,000 in wrongful termination case", Gary Ridley, June 10, 2014

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