FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – The Texas Supreme Court has ruled an employer can force a long-time worker to sign an agreement not to sue if they are fired. Then the business can fire the employee.
The case comes out of Fort Worth, where Frank Kent Cadillac forced a 28-year employee to sign a jury waiver, then fired him less than a year later.
In 2008 the dealership told long-time employee Steven Valdez he had to get on board with a new handbook provision that prohibited him from demanding a jury trial if he was ever fired.
KRLD’s L.P. Phillips Reports:
Court documents show Valdez balked, so a supervisor flatly told him to sign it or he would be fired.
Valdez signed the waiver. And less than a year later he was gone.
He tried to sue, arguing that option amounted to coercion.
A trial judge agreed, but the Texas Supreme Court came down on the side of the dealership, saying Frank Kent has the right to force at-will employees to sign the waiver, and the right to fire them without being sued.
The high court says an employer has the right to force at-will workers to sign the waivers. And that the waivers protect the employer from a jury trial.
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