Can I sue for being terminated after notifying the owner of verbal and emotional abuse by my manager

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Can I sue for being terminated after notifying the owner of verbal and emotional abuse by my manager

Our company controller is a known abuser in the company. Several people have quit because of her. She can no longer talk to a contractor and some of the vendors. I work directly under her and started work on Sept 19, 2017. By March I found my job posted on Indeed. I have the response from the owner stating that Amy is too important for him to get rid of and so I was being terminated because I could not get along with her. I kept my job, but the abuse continued. I wrote him an email last Friday about Amy again and by Wednesday my job was posted again. After confronting her on this issue she finally called me in and said it wasn’t working out and I was terminated. I also have proof that they are paying two people under the table and under a different name because they are illegal.

Asked on January 11, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

It depends on WHY you were being abused. To start with, remember that employment in this nation is "employment at will." That means, among other things, that your employer may generally treat you as awful as it likes--be rude, cruel, insulting, abusive, etc.--and your only recourse is to quit and get a better job. There is simply no right to employment or a job.
That's the general rule. However, there are certain specific things, set forth in the law, that you cannot be abused over: race, color, national origin, sex, age 40 or over, religion, or disability. If you are abused due to one of these protected categories, that is against the law and you'd have a cause of action. The employer may also not retalitate against you for reporting harassment or discrimination based on one of these categories: such retaliation is also illegal, and itself provides a legal claim. So if the abuse was directed at you for one of these reasons, contact the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to file a complaint. 
But abuse for any other reason is permissible: you can be abused because of your politics, your sense of humor, your taste in entertainment, because you went to a rival high school than a manager did, or simply because the manager is a poorly socialized, cruel and insenstive person, or has taken a dislike to you personally, etc. And since you can be abused for any reason other than those few discussed above, there is no protection for reporting abuse for any unprotected reason: you can be terminated for complaining about or providing notice of abuse or harassment, so long as it's not one of those specifically protected reasons.


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