Colorado Termination (with Discharge): What you need to know
Colorado is an “employment-at-will” state. This means that either the employer or the employee may end the employment relationship without giving either notice or a reason. However, while this is true in theory, Colorado statutes and courts have changed the traditional doctrine to some degree.
Employee handbooks. Even if the employer has no explicit employment agreement with the worker, certain actions and representations can bind the employer just as if there were a written contract signed by both parties. If an employee can prove that an employee manual contains discipline, job security, and termination procedures, the manual may constitute a unilateral offer to contract that an employee may accept through continued employment.
Oral statements. Employers should be cautious about allowing anyone in the organization to make a promise of job security to an employee or applicant. If the promise can be seen as an inducement for an employee or prospective employee to give up something of value, by relocating, for instance, or by leaving a good job or turning down an attractive job offer, it is likely to be considered a “contract.” A federal or state law, collective bargaining agreement, or individual employment contract may place further limitations on an otherwise employment-at-will relationship.
Burden of proof. An employee claiming wrongful discharge has the burden of proving his or her case. The employee may use circumstantial evidence to satisfy this burden. As a result, it is essential for employers to be able to show conclusively, with both testimony and documentation, that an employee's “protected” conduct was in no way related to his or her termination.
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Colorado Termination (with Discharge) Resources
Termination (with Discharge) Products
The Termination Process Webinar Recording
BLR Webinar: "The Termination Process: Exit Interviews, Termination Pay, and Post-Termination Steps to Keep You Out of Court""
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