3 Employment Law Disputes You Can and Should Prevent - Hackstaff, Snow, Atkinson & Griess, LLC

3 Employment Law Disputes You Can and Should Prevent


Both employers and employees have rights under federal and state laws. Sometimes additional rights are established within a contract when an employee is hired. Unfortunately, employment law disputes are common. Whether you run a small business with only a handful of employees or a large corporation, you don’t need to be in business for long to realize the risk. Here are three of the most common types of employment law disputes in Colorado and what you can do as a business owner to prevent them in the first place. 

Wrongful Termination  

Wrongful termination disputes are often the most trying and emotionally-charged types of employment law disputes. However, wrongful termination isn’t a magic, legal term, and it’s frequently misunderstood. While sometimes termination is unlawful, many others don’t fall into this category. Only if an employer violates a legal doctrine or a specific state or federal law is a termination “wrongful.” Colorado, like most states, recognizes the employer-employee relationship is “at will.” This means that an employer or employee can end the relationship at any time for any reason.  

Keep in mind, however, there are several exceptions to “employment at will.” For example, an employer can’t fire someone if their basis for doing so is illegal discrimination, such as race, sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability discrimination. In addition, if an employer terminates an employee who has exercised a legal right, there could be a “public policy” exemption to prevent retaliation or suppression. 

Wage Disputes 

Sometimes Colorado employers are accused of not adequately compensating an employer for their time on the clock. Disputes of this nature might include not: 

  • Paying for overtime or earned tips 
  • Allowing regular paid breaks 
  • Paying at least minimum wage  

Worker misclassification is another type of wage dispute. This occurs when an employer wrongly categorizes someone as an independent contractor instead of an employee. Doing so often impacts a worker’s pay, benefits, and protections. It might also create tax problems for both parties. 

Severance Agreements 

Some employers provide employees leaving their company with specific types of compensation in exchange for signing a contract. The contract frequently includes non-compete, non-solicitation and/or non-disclosure agreements. It’s common for severance agreements to become the subject of litigation. If you offer this type of agreement, speaking to an employment law attorney will help you understand the rights you established in the contract and address any issues that might arise as a result. 

Preventing Employment Law Disputes 

Each one of these disputes and others like it eat up valuable time, focus, energy, and fiscal resources from your business once they reach the litigation stage. They can also be bad for your organization’s reputation.  

Luckily, like most problems and challenges, modern Colorado businesses face, nearly all these disputes can be avoided or managed efficiently. Knowledge, proper training, risk assessment reviews, and engaging a business attorney to help draft and edit all of your contracts and employment agreements is the intelligent and reliable way to avoid litigation. A well-versed business attorney can help you ensure that: 

  • You aren’t wrongfully terminating an employee 
  • You classify workers and employees correctly under the law 
  • You pay minimum wage under Colorado law (currently $12.32 per hour) 
  • You provide employees with the minimum legally mandated rest periods 
  • Your severance agreements secure your rights and don’t break any laws 
  • Your severance agreements will be honored by the courts if litigation becomes necessary 

Let Hackstaff Snow Atkinson & Griess Help 

At Hackstaff Snow Atkinson & Griess, we know how common employment disputes are. We also know how to help you prevent them so you can avoid the pitfalls of litigation. If you want to know more about protecting your business, give our office a call today.