Justia Labor & Employment Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Colorado Supreme Court

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Petitioner Accord Human Resources, Inc. (Accord) is a professional employer organization that transacts business in Colorado along with four related entities. In 2004, Accord transferred a portion of its Colorado employees to another Accord entity with a lower unemployment tax rate and in doing so, reduced its unemployment tax burden. The Colorado Division of Employment and Training determined that it had authority to treat the various Accord entities as one for purposes of assessing unemployment taxes, thus erasing any tax advantage that could be gained through the employee transfer. Under this rationale, the Division issued a delinquent tax notice to Accord. Accord appealed, and the hearing officer reversed. On appeal, the court of appeals reversed the Industrial Claim Appeals Office's Final Order and reinstated the hearing officer's decision. The Division sought to reverse the court of appeals decision. Upon review, the Supreme Court affirmed the appellate court's decision, finding that nothing gave the Division authority to combine separate employer tax accounts into one account for purposes of assessing unemployment taxes.

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Petitioner Lucht's Concrete Pumping sought to enforce a non-compete agreement signed by Respondent Tracy Horner, a former at-will employee. Because Mr. Horner was an at-will employee at the time he signed the agreement, Lucht's argued that its forbearance from terminating Mr. Horner constituted adequate consideration for the non-compete agreement. The appellate court held that continued employment did not constitute adequate consideration once an employee started working for an employer because the employee is in the same position as he was before he signed the agreement. Upon careful consideration of the arguments and the applicable legal authority, the Supreme Court reversed the appellate court's decision. The Court found that an employer that forbears from terminating an existing at-will employee forbears from exercising a legal right, and that constitutes adequate consideration. The Court remanded the case for further proceedings.