Most states, including Texas, abide by at-will employment laws. In the most basic sense, these laws stipulate that employers are permitted to terminate workers for any reason, or no reason, and at any time. However, because these laws are often misunderstood, it is important for employers in the construction industry to understand them implicitly.
Just because Texas is an at-will state does not mean you can terminate workers without discretion. Inc. goes over a few of the basics, so you can rest assured you are in full compliance with important laws and regulations.
What at-will means for employers
It is true that employers do have leeway when it comes to terminating workers, but there are also restrictions. Discrimination laws are a major consideration to the at-will doctrine. If your construction company has at least 15 employees, it must abide by Title VII of the civil rights code. Title VII prohibits firings based on national origin, race, sex, religion, and color. Other legislation prohibit firings based on age, pregnancy, and disability.
In addition to avoiding discriminatory terminations, employers are also encouraged to establish a procedure for discipline and firing. With the proper documentation, you can show that you followed the right procedures and conducted discipline and firings in the proper manner. This will save your business from legal reprisal after a firing takes place.
What it means for employees
Unlike employers, employees have fewer restrictions placed on them when it comes to at-will laws. Much like you do not need to provide a reason for firing a worker, workers do not need to provide reasons for resigning. They are also not required to provide notice when leaving your construction business, which means they can leave in the middle of a workday without any prior conversation. Additionally, you must provide wages according to the hours worked or salary agreements. Your only real recourse is to provide a bad reference and refuse to rehire the worker should they ever reapply.