The concept of company loyalty may be followed by some Colorado workers, while others choose to seek new opportunities as they arise. Either way you may be surprised to hear that in Colorado absent an employment contract that states otherwise employers do not need to give employees advance notice that they will be let go and employees do not need to give their employer advanced notice that they are resigning. This is because Colorado recognizes the legal doctrine of employment-at-will.
Why does Colorado follow the doctrine of employment-at-will?
Under the doctrine of employment-at-will an employer can terminate a worker for any reason or no reason at all (with some exceptions). Likewise, in the absence of a contract that states otherwise, a worker can leave their job for any reason or no reason at all.The basis of employment-at-will is efficiency and flexibility in the employment world. Because there are employment-at-law laws, workers can seek out employment that best suits their needs and talents and employers can seek out workers who are the best fit the job.
Exceptions to employment-at-will
Employment-at-will does not give employers the unlimited right to let employees go at a whim. There are exceptions to the employment-at-will doctrine.
- Employers cannot fire a worker for a discriminatory reason. This means a termination cannot be based upon the employee’s race, color, national origin, creed, age, sex, sexual orientation, religion, disability or ancestry.
- Another exception to employment-at-will is violation of public policy. For example, a worker cannot be let go for seeking workers’ compensation benefits, pursuing a lawsuit, acting as a whistleblower, serving jury duty and engaging in off-duty activities that to not break the law.
- A third exception is for express or implied contracts. While termination policies in an express contract must be followed, termination policies in an implied contract must also be honored. An implied contract may exist if the employer has an established policy regarding termination even if there is no express contract.
Learn more about termination in Colorado
It is important that employees in Colorado understand employment-at-will laws in the event that they feel they have been wrongfully terminated. This post is for informational purposes only and does not contain legal advice. Our firm’s webpage on wrongful termination may be a good starting point for those who want to learn more about this topic.