Colorado is an at-will employment state. This means an employer can fire their employee for any reason. However, there is a difference between a legal and illegal firing. A legal firing means the employer was right to fire the employee. An illegal firing is grounds for a wrongful termination claim. A wrongful termination attorney colorado will assist in fighting for damages such as back pay for the illegally fired employee.
Wrongful termination involves firing an employee without legal justification. This makes the firing illegal. The termination may violate anti-discrimination laws or is based on a contractual breach. In employment law, a wrongful termination may be a basis for a lawsuit. The lawsuit may be settled out of court, dismissed or won at trial.
In some situations, a firing may seem like it was legal, but it wasn’t. For example, an employee’s contract may require a reason for a firing. This is called a “for cause” employment contract. The specific cause or reason the employer is allowed to fire an employee is defined in the contract or state law.
For example, failure to perform job duties, willful misconduct and disclosing employer’s secrets are types of causes in a contract to legally terminate an employee. If that an employer fires for no cause, it may be a wrongful termination.
An Employer Retaliated Against the Employee
An employee may have witnessed wrongful activities at work and reported it to a government agency. In response, they were fired. This is wrongful termination. Employment laws prohibit an employer from retaliating against an employee if they reported criminal activity or any other type of activity.
The Employee Discussed Labor or Workplace Issues
According to the National Labor Relations Act, an employee can’t be fired for what’s called engaging in “protected concerted activity.” This type of activity involves things such as talking to a colleague about working conditions or improving wages. This doesn’t mean the employee can vent at work about labor or working conditions. It protects employees working together to improve working or labor conditions.
An Employer Discriminated against an Employee
The federal government and Colorado have laws prohibiting discrimination. The prohibition is against discrimination based on an employee’s race, gender or religious affiliation. For example, a woman fired because she’s pregnant may have a wrongful termination claim.
An Employee is Fired Because of Their Medical History
Sometimes an employer may need an employee’s medical history for employment purposes. An employer can’t obtain medical conditions such as genetic information and fire their employee based on that information. An employer who does this can face serious penalties.
Determining Whether a Termination was Lawful
In many situations, an employee’s termination was legal. The person may never receive a satisfactory response to why they were fired. However, it is important for the fired worker to contact an employment lawyer to determine if their firing was unjust. Colorado has laws to protect employees from illegal firings. An employee must seek advice from an employment lawyer to determine the best way to proceed.