Some employees have signed contracts with their employers, or are beneficiaries of contracts such as a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between a union and an employer. The central question in most of those cases is whether the employer had good cause to terminate the plaintiff’s employment.
Other persons work for employers that have adopted personnel policies or employment handbooks, requiring good cause for a dismissal decision. To oversimplify somewhat, an employee may have a viable claim where the employer either manifested a willingness to enter into an agreement or made promises to its employee(s); an employee must have either accepted the offer, such as by beginning or terminating employment, or must have justifiably relied on the employer’s promises; and the employer failed to fulfill those promises.
However, Colorado law also recognizes that an employer can disclaim any intent to enter into a contract. It can do so by stating, among other things, that its personnel policies or employee handbook are/is not a contract; that its employees work at will for the employer; by stating that only the CEO has the power to enter into a contract with an employee and that any such contract must be in writing; or by making other similar statements.