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In Colorado is it legal to fire an employee only on the basis that they have put in fewer than 42.5 hours weekly?

  • I know Colorado is an at will state, so one can be fired without reason, i just want to know if the reason is the employee clocked fewer than 42.5 hours, is that legal? – UrcH Dec 12 '18 at 18:11
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In Colorado is it legal to fire an employee only on the basis that they have put in fewer than 42.5 hours weekly?

Yes, it seems lawful.

One plausible exception would be that the employee proves that the requirement to work 42.5 hours per week constitutes an "excessive demand on an employee", Campbell v. Indus. Claim Appeals Office of State, 97 P.3d 204, 212 (2003). That is because the doctrine of at-will employment cannot supersede public policy or contract law. However, given that 40 hours per week is pretty much the standard for a full-time job, a full-time employee is (generally speaking) unlikely to prevail solely on an excess of 2.5 hours over that standard.

In Campbell, the claimant prevailed on the heightened grounds that

  1. the increase of work hours (to around sixty hours per week) was unilateral and not something of which he was "fully aware" at the time of accepting employment;

  2. during the last two years with that extended schedule, he "repeatedly requested help from employer" but to no avail; and

  3. "claimant presented evidence that the excessive hours affected him", Id at 211.

To be clear, Campbell is about termination, but about an award of benefits in a matter of constructive termination (that is, one where the employee resigned due to unsustainable conditions). Moreover, it is unclear to me whether the relevant portion(s) of Colorado statute § 8-73-108 has been repealed. But regardless of the current validity of that statute, a Colorado court might assess an employee's claim on the basis of Campbell.

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