There have been two employment cases decided by the Texas Supreme Court in the last several months. However, because I expect them to have little impact on Texas jurisprudence, I have not been compelled to write about them before today. However, in the interest of keeping the blog up-to-date with each of the employment cases from the Supreme Court of Texas, I will briefly cover them.
In City of Houston v. Proler, the Court held that a firefighter who had the inability to overcome his fear of running into a burning building was not disabled. Because of the unique set of facts and that the case involved the pre-2007 version of the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act and pre-amendment Americans with Disabilities Act, I do not think this case will get much use in Texas employment law disputes.
Similarly, in Sawyer v. E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., the Court held that a plaintiff-employee cannot make out a fraud claim when the misrepresentation on which the fraud claim was based was the promise of continued at-will employment. The Court reasoned that since no employee has any right to continued at-will employment, no employee could justifiably rely on a representation or promise of continued at-will employment and therefore could have no viable fraud claim arising from such misrepresentation. The Court also held that employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement that contains exclusive remedies for wrongful termination were limited to those exclusive remedies and could not bring common law claims for fraud. Most Texas employees are not covered by collective bargaining agreement and of those that are, I doubt most of their CBA contain exclusive remedies for wrongful termination claims. For that reason, I expect this case to have little impact on Texas law.
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