Firing Worker Who Refuses to Perform Illegal Act In Texas
In Winters v. Houston Chronicle Publishing Company, 795 S.W.2d 723, 724-25 (Tex.1990), the Supreme Court refused to recognize an exception to at-will employment that would prohibit an employer from firing an employee who reported illegal activities of other employees to the employer.
The court noted that a cause of action for wrongful termination requires the plaintiff to show that his employer "unacceptably forced him to choose between risking criminal liability or being discharged from his livelihood." Winters v. Houston Chronicle Publishing Company, supra at 724.
In Texas v. Hinds, 904 S.W.2d 629, 633 (Tex.1995), the court noted that Sabine Pilot requires the plaintiff to prove that he was discharged solely for the reason that he refused to perform an illegal act.
The court also noted that, if an employer discharged an employee both for his refusal to perform an illegal act and for a legitimate reason, the employer would not be liable for wrongful termination.
Department of Human Services of the State of Texas v. Hinds, 904 S.W.2d 629, 633 (Tex.1995).