Common law employment claims have certain advantages for plaintiffs over statutory discrimination, harassment or retaliation claims. For starters, there are no administrative prerequisites to exhaust and the kinds of damages one can seek for common law claims can sometimes be be more "creative" than the straight forward, capped damages recoverable under statutory claims. In my nonscientific, anecdotal study, I’ve seen an uptick in the number of common law claims for fraud filed by "at-will" employees filed recently.
The Fifth Circuit recently published a new case that will be useful in defending all fraud claims filed by at-will employees. In Sawyer v. EI DuPont de Nemours & Co., the Court held that under Texas law, at-will employees cannot maintain a claim for fraud based on a loss of employment. The holding in Sawyer is not necessarily breaking new law; however, it summarizes its holding succinctly in a single paragraph making it easy to present to a trial court considering special exceptions or a summary judgment motion on an at-will employee’s fraud claim.
You can access the complete opinion here.
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