Can a Manager in Texas be fired by honoring seniority per the UAW contract.

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can a Manager in Texas be fired by honoring seniority per the UAW contract.

On 10/7/17 an employee who had signed a Saturday overtime posting came in and noticed that his seniority had been violated when the job assignments where posted on the information board. The employee called for both the contract Supervisor and Union Rep to request that his seniority be honored and be granted to be moved to the area he would like to work in. The Contract Supervisor replied that he could not make that change since the list was made by the Operations Manager. The employee got upset and requested to leave and the Contract Supervisor granted him to leave. The contract Supervisor states that the employee requested FLMA and the employee states that he did not request FMLA and there were no witnesses to the conversation. In the end the attendance coding by the Contract Supervisor resulted in a 3 day disciplinary layoff for the employee. After reviewing the facts Operations Manager Dan Clark decided not to issue the 3 day DLO because of the violation of Seniority was the root cause of the problem. The next day Operations Manager was terminated and the employee was issued the 3 day DLO the following day.

Asked on November 16, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Does the Operations manager have an employment contract (or is covered under a union/collective bargaining agreement) which protects him or her from termination for this reason or in this way? That, unfortunately, is the only issue. As you evidently know, employment is employment at will except to the extent that is changed by the terms of a written employment contract. If there is a contract, it's terms are enforceable in court, via a "breach of contract" lawsuit. If there is no contract, however, then the employee may be terminated at any time, for any reason whatsoever. The reason can be unfair, factually mistaken, or even petty, thoughtless, and cruel: for example, it would be legal for a upper level manager who had a fight with his/her spouse to make him/herself feel better by taking it out on an innocent employee and terminating the employee, just so that someone else has a worse day. So without a contract, the manager may be fired even for doing the right thing.

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