Although Texas is an at-will state, the Texas Supreme Court has recognized an exception to this doctrine for individuals who are terminated solely for refusing to perform an act that would expose them to risk of criminal prosecution. Under Sabine Pilot Service, Inc. v. Hauck, an employer may not terminate an employee solely for refusing to perform an act that would expose him or her to risk of criminal prosecution.
Doyle Dennis LLP recently filed suit against Strategic Partnerships, Inc. Strategic Partnerships, Inc. is a business development and procurement consulting firm. Specifically, Strategic Partnerships, Inc. provides government consulting services to assist companies with government procurement.
Doyle Dennis LLP’s client was employed by SPI as a Business Intelligence Research Analyst. Unfortunately, Strategic Partnerships, Inc.’s directors ordered the company’s employees to utilize “clandestine means” to obtain information that was not publicly available. Additionally, Strategic Partnerships, Inc. ordered Doyle Dennis LLP’s client to search for information behind a firewall. Thus, SPI knowingly instructed Doyle Dennis LLP’s client to perform illegal acts, including but not limited to, accessing a computer, computer network, or computer system without the consent of the owner; intentionally interrupting or suspending access to a computer system or computer network without the effective consent of the owner; intentionally decrypting encrypted private information through deception and without a legitimate business purpose, violating the Economic Espionage Act, and violating Texas Penal Code Section 31.05. Doyle Dennis LLP’s client refused to conduct these illegal activities. As a result of this refusal, Strategic Partnerships, Inc. fired its employee.
An employee who was fired as a result of refusing to perform an illegal act may recover several different types of monetary damages, including lost wages and mental anguish damages. An employee in a Sabine Pilot lawsuit may also recover punitive damages so long as he or she shows malice surrounding the employment termination.
Doyle Dennis LLP has substantial experience and results representing employees who were wrongfully fired. If you have been wrongfully fired as a result of refusing to perform an illegal action, contact us today.