Contracts serve as the basis for every employment relationship. Employment contracts can be created by a written document, by oral statements, or implied by the conduct of the employer and employee. Ideally, every employment relationship would be accompanied by a clear writing specifying all of the terms of employment such as the length, wages, benefits, and the obligations and rights of each party. However, this is frequently not the case and employment contracts are often unclear or vague.
How a Colorado Employment Contract Attorney Can Help You
One of the most helpful things an employment law attorney can do is to review the employment contract before the employment relationship begins. We can help employers to strengthen the language of the contract, anticipate problems that might occur in future, and provide solutions to those problems in the contract. We can also help employees to:
- Understand the contract terms;
- Negotiate the conditions of employment, such as pay or benefits; and
- Offer advice on the legal effect of contract terms, such as non-compete agreements and grounds for termination.
During or After Employment
Once the employment relationship has begun, it can be more difficult to modify an employment contract. However, an employment law attorney can still help both employers and employees to understand their rights and obligations under the contract and, if appropriate, negotiate a modification or new contract.
If either party has breached an employment contract, it is important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can advise you about whether a breach has occurred and what legal options are available to you.
Employment Contracts in Colorado
Most employers and employees know that Colorado law has a strong presumption of “at-will” employment. At-will employment means that either the employer or the employee has the right to terminate the employment relationship at any time with or without cause.
Exceptions to At-Will Employment
However, many people are not aware that there are several exceptions to at-will employment. The doctrine of at-will employment is only a presumption, and can be overcome by a showing of evidence that the employment is not at will by the employer or employee.
The most obvious exception to at-will employment is a written contract that provides that the employment will be for a specified length of time. This is called a “contract for a definite term.” However, most employees do not have a written employment contract. The presumption of at-will employment can also be overcome by other evidence of an employment contract, such as an employee manual, policy, or guidelines.
The presumption of at-will employment can also be overcome by evidence of an oral agreement for a definite term. Such an agreement must be more than a vague promise that the employee “has a job” or “will be promoted” at a particular time. It is important for both employers and employees to know that definite oral statements can modify a pre-existing written employment contract, even if the contract states that such modifications must be in writing.
Contact a Colorado Employment Contracts Attorney
Whether there is a disagreement about employment terms or a contract breach such as a failure to pay wages, problems can arise at any point during an employment relationship. An experienced attorney can help to prevent these types of problems by reviewing an employment contract before it is signed. In the event of a breach, an attorney can help to negotiate and – if necessary – file a contract lawsuit. At HKM Employment Attorneys LLP, we have experience representing both employees and employers in contract-related matters. Each side deserves a strong advocate who has the knowledge necessary to offer good advice and the skill to achieve results.
If you have questions about a matter related to Colorado employment contract law, contact HKM Attorneys, LLP today online or by calling us at 303-991-3075 for a private consultation.