Dallas Court of Appeals Rejects Wrongful Termination Claim for Voting in Election

Earlier this week the Dallas Court of Appeals rejected an employee's attempt to create a new wrongful termination cause of action.  In Martin v. Clinical Pathology Lab., Joyce Martin sued her employer for terminating her employment after she requested time off to vote in the November 2008 General Election.  According to her petition, Martin alleged that she:

[W]as a loyal and competent employee of Defendant for three (3) years. On November 4, 2008, Plaintiff requested permission to go vote in the general election so she could cast her vote for the President of the United States and other offices. Defendant refused. Plaintiff left work fifteen minutes early (at 5:15 p.m[.] ) to go vote for change in this country before the polls closed at 7:00 p.m. On November 6, 2008, Defendant terminated Plaintiff.

The question presented in the appeal was "whether an at-will employee who leaves work early to vote in an election and who is subsequently terminated has a private cause of action for wrongful termination."  In keeping with the general rule in Texas that common law exceptions to the employment at-will doctrine should be made by the Supreme Court of Texas, and not the intermediate appellate courts, the Dallas Court of Appeal refused to recognize this new wrongful termination cause of action.

You can download a full copy of the opinion here.

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