Does Texas have any unusual protected classes?

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Firing,Human Resources

Q. Other than race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, age and disability, are there any other protected classifications under Texas law that might limit an employer’s right to terminate an at-will worker employed?

A. Yes. In addition to the protected classifications referenced above, employers are prohibited from discriminating or retaliating against employees for several other reasons, including:

  • Filing a workers’ compensation claim (if the employer has workers’ compensation insurance)
  • Voting for or against a particular candidate or not revealing how he or she voted (note that employers must allow employees to vote)
  • Being called to jury service
  • Reporting any complaint under the Hazard Com­­mu­­ni­­cations Act
  • Reporting instances of abuse of residents at nursing home facilities to law enforcement (applicable to nursing home employees)
  • Reporting a violation of law (where the employer is a state or local government)
  • Refusing to submit to a pre-hire AIDS test, or refusing to disclose the results of an AIDS test
  • Complying with a subpoena
  • Refusing to commit a criminal act.

This is not an exclusive list, but shows that even though Texas is an at-will state, there are a number of ways a fired employee can characterize a termination to make it possibly illegal.

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