What Is an Employment Contract?
An employment contract is typically a document signed by both the employer and the employee stating several things, which will vary between places of employment and job descriptions. Each job description will differ from freelance to management, and corresponding expectations will vary.
Generally, the start date, expected duties, pay scale, and more. An employee’s rights, obligations, and responsibilities are typically outlined in an employment contract.
Job information such as standard operating procedures, benefits or bonus information, typical employee schedule, and employment period are also typically included in an employment contract. Time off, whether paid or unpaid, sick days, or a vacation policy can also be included.
It is also general practice to include information regarding termination or severance should the employer determine that the employee is not suited for the position.
How Do Employers Determine What is Included in an Employment Contract?
Employers can research popular hiring sites to determine how a similar job description may appear in an employee contract. They can utilize this to set requirements for experience, skills, education, and more. This information can then be used in an employment contract discussing expectations, conditions, and more.
Other essential items to note are determining how the employee will be evaluated and including those benchmarks within the expectations of the role.
How Does an Employer Benefit from an Employment Contract?
In many ways, an effective employment contract can provide assurance or protection for an employer. For example, suppose there are business or trade secrets that an employer wants to protect. In that case, they can include this information within the contract. By signing the document, the employee enters into a binding agreement that can be referenced should issues arise.
By clearly defining expectations within the employment contract, an employer can refer to the document to determine what disciplinary actions may be relevant or if termination is an option based on the employee’s performance.
A well-executed employment contract may also help employers with recruiting higher-level employees. High-quality prospective employees can review an employment contract and determine whether or not the expectations are within reason, and should they choose not to take the position based on the employment contract, this can help the employer avoid unnecessary turnover.
How Does an Employee Benefit From an Employment Contract?
A thorough employment contract can provide an employee with peace of mind and job security. Expectations and requirements are clearly stated, and employees can ensure they are within requirements and avoid disciplinary action or termination.
Alternatively, if an employee feels they were wrongfully disciplined or terminated, they can refer to the employment contract as a means of defending themselves.
What is “At-Will” Employment?
As in most states, Colorado follows an “at-will” employment strategy. This typically means that an employer may terminate an employee at any time, without reason, as long as the reason doesn’t interfere with the employee’s constitutional rights. For example, suppose the reason to terminate an “at-will” employee is found to be based on race, disability, sex, or age. In that case, this can be grounds for infringement on the employee’s constitutional rights.
When an effective employment contract is in place, it commonly supersedes the “at-will” employment policy. Employment contracts will typically state a specified time at which the contract is in place. During that time, if the employee follows requirements and expectations, they may have recourse for being demoted or terminated.
What Are My Employment Rights in Colorado?
Several laws are outlined for Colorado employees regarding pregnancy or breastfeeding, access to personnel files, limits on credit checks, and more. Colorado employees also have laws protecting them relating to time off or leaves, paid sick leave, domestic violence leave, and final pay or job reference requirements should they change jobs.
These laws are in addition to the constitutional rights that protect employees nationwide. The Colorado Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, for example, protects employees from being paid less based on their sex. This law also provides transparency of pay or salary to ensure the employers abide by the laws within the Act.
Employers must make reasonable accommodations for those who are pregnant or recently gave birth. Some accommodations are job restructuring if necessary, temporary light duty, if available, more frequent or prolonged breaks to accommodate breastfeeding or rest, lifting limitations, help with manual labor, and more.
Furthermore, employers have guidelines that protect them regarding placing a maximum on how much compensatory and punitive damages can be awarded to previous employees, based on the number of employees they have, and more.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
It is important to understand your rights as an employer and as an employee in the state of Colorado. You may feel frustrated, overwhelmed, and confused if you feel wrongfully terminated or are being pursued for compensatory damages.
Don’t let the working reputation that you dedicated your career to ensuring be in jeopardy. By working with a dedicated and tireless team of experienced attorneys, you can rest easy knowing that every aspect of your case will be diligently reviewed and an effective strategy formed.
You don’t need to face these issues alone. Contact our office today if you feel your rights are being overlooked. We have a vast skill set in working with employers and employees who deserve protection and justice.
Call us at (303) 564-7313 to learn how our team can best assist you and become a fierce advocate for you and your family moving forward.