Texas employers confronted by claims of workplace discrimination or wrongful termination sometimes look for evidence of an employee’s misconduct on the job to fight the allegations. This defense applies what is called after-acquired evidence. A company fighting a lawsuit could look for this type of evidence to justify the firing of an individual regardless of whether the plaintiff proves discrimination. Examples of misconduct could be fraud or poor job performance.
Even if evidence of discrimination validates a former employee’s complaint, after-acquired evidence could potentially limit damages. The company could argue that the person would have been fired anyway, and damages such as back pay could be restricted to the point when the employer identified the after-acquired evidence. These accusations might also prevent a person from being reinstated to a position.
Evidence gathered after scrutinizing an employee’s work record might also enable an employer to win the case and avoid paying any damages. Often, a job dismissal will document a legally legitimate reason for terminating employment, and after-acquired evidence could be used to strengthen this reason and demonstrate that the employer did not act in a discriminatory fashion.
A person who lost a job, experienced harassment or discrimination or was denied employment because of age, sex, disability or race might need to overcome legal hurdles when confronting an employer about illegal conduct. An attorney who has employment law experience could help document the discrimination and challenge a company’s efforts to smear the former employee’s reputation. Evidence such as payroll records, company emails or testimony from witnesses could be organized by an attorney to illustrate the employer’s hostility.