When you first agreed to work for your employer, you may have been asked to sign an employment contract, specifying the terms of your employment. Typically, your employment contract will consist of your job duties, compensation and benefits, and how long your employment will last.
While employers and employees are legally obligated to abide by the terms of the contract, employers may breach the employment contract in a number of ways. For example, many employment contracts contain a clause stating that an employee cannot be fired without ‘just cause.’ An employer who violates the terms of the contract and wrongfully terminates an employee could be held liable for damages.
What is ‘just cause’?
Colorado is an at-will employment state, meaning that an employer can terminate an employee for any legal reason (non-discriminatory or non-retaliatory reason) and an employee can quit their job for any reason. However, if there is an employment contract in place, the employer must have a good reason for terminating the employee. An employer may have just cause if the employee:
- Harasses other employees
- Violates company policy
- Participates in illegal or criminal activity
- Fails to perform the job properly
- Fails to follow supervisor instructions
Without a legitimate reason to terminate employment, and a valid employment contract in place, employers who fire an employee without just cause may be held liable for wrongful termination of said employee. If you believe your employer terminated you in violation of your contract, an employment law attorney in your area may be able to assist you with the claim filing process.