There are statutory exceptions to at-will employment termination. This means that if an employee wants to file a lawsuit, they will need to do so for the type of statutory violation that has occurred.
What Is a Statute of Limitations?
The statute of limitations is the legal time limit for filing a lawsuit based on a particular claim. If you file a lawsuit after the statute of limitations has expired, your case can be thrown out.
Statutes of limitations may be set by state or federal law.
Some of the most common legal deadlines to be aware of are:
- Contract Claims
If your lawsuit is based on breach of an employment contract, the statute of limitations for breach of contract in Texas is 4 years. You will have to look at the state law mentioned in your employment contact. any states have different time limits for contracts.
- Discrimination claims.
Claims for harassment, retaliation for reporting or opposing discrimination and failed to accommodate under Texas State Law = 180 days after the discriminatory, retaliatory, or harassing event(s) to file a Charge of Discrimination with the Texas Workforce Commission Civil Rights Division (See twc.texas.gov/jobseekers/how-submit-employment-discrimination-complaint) and a lawsuit must be filed either within 2 years 60 days after the TWC issues a right-to-sue notice OR 2 years from the filing of the charge of discriminatory with the TWC or EEOC.
- Discrimination, Harassment, Accommodation, and Related Claims Under Federal Law = 300 days after the discriminatory, retaliatory, or harassing event(s) to file a Charge of Discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (See www.eeoc.gov/field/dallas/charge.cfm) and a lawsuit must be filed 90 days after the EEOC issues a right-to-sue notice.
- Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) Violations = 2 Years, and, in some cases up to 3 years if the violation was “willful”
- Overtime and Minimum Wage (“FLSA”) Violations = 2 Years, and, in some cases up to 3 years if the violation was “willful” Federal Equal Pay Act Claims = 2 Years, and, in some cases up to 3 years if the violation was “willful”
- Texas Whistleblower Protection Act Claims by Texas Municipal and State Government Employees = 90 days
- Texas Health & Safety Code Retaliation Claims by Doctors and Nurses = 90 days or 180 days depending on whether the employer is public or private and whether the employer is a hospital or treatment facility
- Retaliation for Filing a Texas Workers Compensation Claim = 2 years
- Federal False Claims Act or “Qui Tam” Whistleblower Claims = 3 years
- Fraud = 4 years, if Texas law applies
- Libel or Slander = 1 year, if Texas law applies
- Whistleblower Protections under the OSH Act = 30 days