Colorado is on the bleeding edge of employment law in several respects, with new laws coming out frequently that govern the employment relationship. Pay differentials between different people doing the same job, sick leave, disciplining employees for non-workplace related activity, and non-competition agreements are all subject to unique rules and guidelines that employers from other states simply do not have to address. If you are Colorado business, you should not be using general information from the internet. You should have a Colorado attorney. If you do not, you may be making mistakes based on general principles that simply do not apply in this state.
Some businesses use workers that get paid on a Form 1099 as independent contractors. In these cases, it is critical to make sure that these workers are properly classified as independent contractors rather than employees. How a business pays its workers is not merely a question of what paperwork is signed and how the business wants to pay taxes, though these elements are relevant. We can help explore the specific facts of a business relationship and advise those involved whether the facts really support this classification.
There are many benefits to having the proper paperwork setting the rules for how your business’ workers conduct themselves. This can help make it clear to workers what is and is not allowed, create defenses that otherwise would not be available in an employment dispute, and give rise to other benefits. But, the proper documentation and level of detail depends on the specifics of your business. There is not a one-size-fits-all answer to employee manuals or independent contractor agreements. We believe that each contract or policy should be based on how the company actually wants to operate and designed to compliment the way the company does business rather than create bureaucracy or, worse, set up rules that people might be tempted to disregard.
If you have employees, its is possible that your business may be visited by those employees judgment creditors. Normally these are not complicated affairs, but occasionally multiple garnishments can lead to complexities that a lawyer can help resolve. The Firm can help manage and respond to these inquiries in conjunction with your payroll company.
We would not go so far as to suggest that the right to terminate employees at will is entirely dead in Colorado, but there are many laws that make layoffs fraught for employers. Employers must be very careful to ensure that the reasoning for terminations is not based on discrimination against race, gender, or other protected classes, or even on non-workplace behavior in some cases. The Firm has experience representing both the employer and the employee on cases alleging discrimination. Of course, the better practice is to avoid any such claim in the first place by careful policies, meaningful dialog between employers and the employees, and thoughtful action and documentation when adverse employment action is necessary.
Employees typically owe their employer a duty to be loyal during the employment that can be violated if the employee actively undermines the business. We have seen many cases where employees depart and try to take business property, trade secrets, customers, or other employees with them. This can be disastrous to your company. But, a Colorado business is not helpless in this circumstance. The Firm can help evaluate harm done by an employee who violates their duty of loyalty and help mitigate the harm causes.