An employer who fires an employee in Texas because the employee refuses to do an illegal act can be subject to liability because of a 1985 Texas Supreme Court case called Sabine Pilot Service, Inc. v. Hauck, 687 S.W.2d 733 (Tex.1985). A Sabine Pilot claim is a tort, allowing for compensatory and exemplary or punitive damages, where an employer terminates an employee who refuses to do an illegal act. For example, an employee fired for refusing to drive an illegally equipped or unsafe tractor trailer truck may be able to hold an employer responsible under Texas law for wrongful termination. Further, an employee fired for reporting a crime to law enforcement may hold the employer accountable for wrongful termination since the employee may have committed the federal crime of misprison had the employee not reported the criminal activity. Various other circumstances involving firings based on an employee refusal to commit a crime can give rise to a wrongful termination claim against an employer.
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