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Colorado, like America is in general, is an at-will employment state. What this means is that, with certain exceptions, employees may be fired for just about any reason. Nevertheless, there are exceptions to the general rule of at-will employment, and these include:
- Contractual limits: employees may enter into contracts – which may be oral or written, or express or implied – that prevents employers from dismissing them. This is why employers have to be very careful about how they conduct themselves with employees, since they may find that they inadvertently enter into a contract with an employee when they did not intend to.
- Statutory limits: Colorado laws protecting private workers from termination are relatively few, but public workers generally enjoy more protections.
- Public policy exception: this prohibits an employer from firing an employee who refuses to perform an act that violates a law at the request of the employer.
- Tort claims: “tort” generally refers to a type of personal injury. Tort claims in employment law can be based on failure to act in good faith and with dealing, outrageous conduct, fraud or misrepresentation, defamation, interference with contract or prospective business advantage, and invasion of privacy.