Home  Coloradoan Archives  Sr. Voice Archives  FAQs  Links 
Law Offices of Ronald W. Rutz
Coloradoan Archives

January 11, 1999: Employment Contracts; Jurisiction of Judgments

Q: I applied for an entry level job at a local company but they want me to sign an employment contract. What gives? I have held similar jobs in California, Massachusetts, and Minnesota and never had to do that.

A: Because of the labor shortage, the cost of training employees, workers gypsy-like jumping from job to job, and a recent series of seminars, more and more companies across the country are seeking employment contracts from all employees. For new hirees, at least, if a company insists on such a contract, you must sign if you want the job.

But before putting your "John Hancock" on the dotted line, be sure that your attorney reviews the contract (the average attorney will be quite competent to advise you). There appears to be some flexibility in modifying the standard form.

Be sure that the provisions dealing with compensation, bonuses, vacation time, sick leave, and benefits accurately reflect your expectations during the whole life of the contract.

There will probably be a "conduct and behavior provision" which must be reviewed carefully. This normally will be the exit door for you if the company wants to let you go early, so you need to focus in on this part.

The document will probably have a confidential records and information section. Even if you are convinced that you will never be in a position to be exposed to such material, examine the wording carefully because with the current paranoiac business environment, you might find this clause boomeranging back, knocking you out of your next job after this one. It should be adjusted, based upon your position, to exclude skills, experience, and knowledge that you gain by just doing your job.

Finally, almost certainly there will be a non-competition clause in the proffered document, every one of which that I have reviewed, violates the Colorado law. But in the near future companies doing business in Colorado will wake up and get it right. Even if such a clause is unenforceable, it could still be used by the company for harassment after you leave. Unless you are a supervisor or manager, try to have this provision stricken.

Given the factors that triggered this current corporate "fad," if enough workers refuse to sign, then the requirement will fail, since workers will just go with the companies that do not require such contracts.

Q: I have a judgment against me in California (which I am appealing) but I found out that is was recorded here in Colorado. Is there anything I can do?

A: First, check with your California attorney. Often a judgment can not be enforced until after the appeal process is completed, or at least after complying with the local law.

A sister state's judgment can be effective in Colorado but it must be "lodged" here in such a way as to comply with the pertinent Colorado statute. It can not just be recorded. In fact, if the California judgment was improperly recorded here in Colorado, the California judgment holder has committed "slander of title" and could be liable to you for your damages.

Home  Coloradoan Archives  Sr. Voice Archives  FAQs  Links