(Reuters) - The general counsel of a Dallas real estate development company has filed a lawsuit claiming the firm’s president fired her because she refused to come to work and violate a local shelter-in-place order amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Plaintiff Amy Reggio, represented by the Rogge Dunn Group, said in a complaint filed in Dallas County Court on Thursday that the firm, Tekin & Associates, is not an essential business and that she would have risked criminal penalties by commuting to a job that she was capable of doing remotely.
Reggio claims the firm’s president, Mark Tekin, became “belligerent and annoyed” when she requested to work from home in light of a Dallas County judge’s March 23 order requiring local residents to shelter in place. She was fired on March 27, according to the complaint.
The firm, which specializes in restaurant and retail development, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Reggio accused Tekin of wrongful termination, invoking the so-called “Sabine Pilot” doctrine that provides an exception under Texas law to at-will employment when a worker is fired solely for refusing to perform an illegal act.
She is seeking more than $1 million in damages, including lost wages and benefits and compensatory and punitive damages.
Dallas County has been one of the hardest-hit counties in Texas during the pandemic, with more than 1,700 confirmed cases and 32 deaths.
The case is Reggio v. Tekin & Associates LLC, Dallas County Court, No. CC-20-01986-B.
For Reggio: Rogge Dunn of Rogge Dunn Group
For Tekin: Not available