Involuntary Work Separations Under Texas Law

The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) oversees unemployment compensation cases for Texas citizens who are out of work through no fault of their own. To determine whether an individual is entitled to an employment benefit, such as unemployment compensation, the TWC must know what caused an employee and employer to go their separate ways.

The first determination is whether separation was voluntary or involuntary. The type of separation determines what benefits an employee may receive. A voluntary work separation is any separation that is initiated by an employee. These types of separations are those where an employee retains more power than the employer. Voluntary separations occur as long as the employer did not force the employee to resign. An involuntary work separation is an employer initiated separation.

Involuntary separations occur when an employer engages in some action or behavior that make it impossible for an employee to continue employment after a specific date. Unlike voluntary departures, an employer retains more power than the employee in these scenarios.

The TWC categorizes many scenarios as an involuntary work separation, such as when the employer engages in a workforce reduction, layoffs, or downsizing. In most instances where an employer terminates employment for the company’s economic benefit, the separation is considered involuntary. If an on-call, seasonal, or as-needed job comes to an end and no work is available the next business day, the separation is involuntary. Further, termination for “cause,” such as employee misconduct, is considered involuntary.

An employee may still claim their separation was involuntary even if they resign. These types of involuntary separations occur in situations where the employer offered the employee the opportunity to resign instead of termination. Similarly, forced retirement is often considered involuntary separation. Mutual agreements may also be involuntary if the employer retains most of the power.

An incorrect employee separation designation can result in many repercussions for an employee. For example, the TWC requires that voluntarily separated employees receive their final pay no later than their next regularly scheduled payday. Whereas, involuntarily separated employees must be given their final payment within six days of their last workday. Moreover, determining which party has the burden of proof in an unemployment compensation case hinges on the type of separation. Finally, ongoing insurance benefits may vary depending on the type of separation.

Have You Been Involuntarily Terminated by Your Texas Employer?

If you feel an employment separation was incorrect, and it has negatively impacted your employment or financial prospects, contact the Texas employment law attorneys at Rob Wiley, PC. We can help you understand your rights and remedies if you face an unlawful employment practice. Contact our team of experienced lawyers today by calling 214-528-6500 to schedule a consultation. You can also contact us through our online form.

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