What does it mean to be an ‘at-will’ employer?

| Mar 30, 2020 | Firm News |

If you own a business in Colorado, you know that the state follows the “employment-at-will” policy. At-will employment defines the working contract between employers and employees. Neither employer nor employee needs to give notice or reason for termination, as long as it does not violate the law. 

What does this policy mean for you and your employees? The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment provides the underlying reasoning behind at-will employment and how it benefits both employers and workers. 

For employers 

As an employer, the law does not require you to give any reason for firing an employee. You are free to terminate an employee who is not fulfilling the requirements of the job, within the limits of the law. This allows you to seek the best possible candidate for the position without any obligation to the existing employee. 

What you cannot do is fire someone based on race, sex, age, religion or for any other discriminatory reason protected by law. You also cannot fire them based on any lawful activities they participate in off-duty, even if you disagree with their choices. Additionally, you cannot fire an employee because they must miss work to serve on a jury, file a workers’ compensation claim or threaten to bring a lawsuit against you. 

For employees 

At-will employment is a two-way street. Your employees are within their rights to willfully terminate employment with you at any time, without giving you notice or reasoning. If your employees feel that the job is not right for them, they are free to terminate their at-will contract with you to seek employment elsewhere.