Every employer-employee relationship is based on a contract, whether that contract is written down, verbal, or implied through the actions of the parties. When an employer fails to hold up their end of the bargain and breaches the contract, an employee may be able to bring a contracts lawsuit and recover damages for lost pay, emotional distress, or punitive damages.
The law which applies to employment contracts in Colorado is particularly difficult to understand. This is in part because Colorado has a strong “employment-at-will” presumption. However, an experienced employment contract attorney will be able to listen to your particular situation and tell you how Colorado employment law applies to you.
Breach of Contracts Lawsuits in Colorado
Breach of an employment contract can occur in many different types of situations, such as:
- An employer fails to pay the agreed-upon wage;
- An employer fires an employee in violation of a contract;
- An employer fails to provide an agreed-upon benefit, such as health care, vacation time, or sick leave; or
- An employer violates any other contract clause, such as a non-compete agreement.
As mentioned above, Colorado is an at-will employment state, which means that either the employer or the employee can end the employment relationship at any time with or without cause. Many workers think this means that they have no legal protections if they are fired. This is simply not true. There are many exceptions to the at-will employment doctrine.
The clearest exception to the at-will employment doctrine is if you have a written contract that specifies the employment will be for a particular term or length of time. If it is sufficiently definite, a written contract for a term can rebut the presumption of at-will employment and serve as the basis of a breach of contract lawsuit.
The language in written employment contracts can often be complex and hard to understand. Sometimes the terms of an employment contract and their legal significance are clear. However, many times situations arise that are not covered by any particular contract term, or the terms that do apply are vague and open to interpretation.
Without a Written Contract
In the absence of a written contract, an employer can still be sued for breach of contract. Materials such as employee handbooks, policy manuals, or other documents can become part of an employment contract. Likewise, employment contracts can be created orally in Colorado. In order to create a contract, an oral statement must be more than a vague promise. Rather, the employer must offer a specific promise to the employee and the contract must be for a definite term.
Implied Contracts & Breach of Contract Video
Contract a Colorado Employment Contracts Attorney
If you believe that your employer or former employer has violated an employment contract, it is important to speak with an employment law attorney. This area of law is highly fact-specific, and an experienced attorney can listen to the facts in your particular situation and advise you about your options. At HKM Employment Attorneys LLP, we have experience helping employees bring breach of contract claims against their employers.
If you believe that your employer has acted in breach of an employment contract, don’t wait – contact HKM Employment Attorneys LLP today. You can contact us online or by calling 303-991-3075 for a private consultation.