Many of our Colorado readers are familiar with the concept of at-will employment. For those who aren't, the gist of the concept is that an employer can terminate an employee at any time for any reason - and the employee can do the same. However, there are many employees throughout Colorado and the nation who work under the terms of an employment contract. In order for those individuals to be fired, oftentimes their contract will specify that the termination needs to be for a valid reason.
According to a recent report, one Colorado employee is challenging the termination of his employment arrangement with a school district in Larimer County. It appears that the school district has asserted that the employee was fired due to a conflict of interest, in which the employee is alleged to have pushed sales for a private company he is involved in while on the job with the school district. The employee has said that this reason is completely invalid, and that he was in fact terminated in violation of his contract because the school district didn't have a valid reason to terminate him.
Every year, thousands of employees are subject to a wrongful dismissal from their employment, and sometimes the real reason comes down to a simple point: employment discrimination. When an employee is not working under an at-will arrangement, but is instead under the terms of a contract, an employer who wants to get rid of the employee will sometimes try to build up a phony pretext for firing the employee - one that complies with the terms of the employment contract. The case for the Colorado employee in this recent report is just beginning, but it will be interesting to see which side is believed. The employee has asked for a jury trial, and is seeking the salary he would have earned through the end of his employment contract.
Source: coloradoan.com, "Fired HR director sues PSD for wrongful termination," Madeline Novey, March 19, 2014