How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Patrick, Esq. Your Own Question
Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 12472
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
Type Your Employment Law Question Here...
Patrick, Esq. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I'm in the State of Colorado - an employee was served with a

Customer Question

I'm in the State of Colorado - an employee was served with a cease and desist order relating to a non compete signed by her with her previous employer. As I understand she has to answer this within the time allotted, she does not have the funds for an attorney to respond to this letter. As this is a direct competitor in a different field; they are in electrical and I'm in lighting, this brings great concerns to me of any liability being brought to my attention. In fear of having this effect me as an employer, should I terminate her. I do not want to do this. I did not know she had a non compete with a previous company. What is the best way to handle this as an employer and the issue that she can't afford an attorney to respond to this letter.
JA: Because employment law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: Yes, I did at the beginning it's Colorado
JA: Is the employment agreement "at will," union, full time or part time?
Customer: At will
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I think that's it for now
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 8 months ago.

Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** it will be my pleasure to assist you. Please just give me a moment to review your question....

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Thank you
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
No thanks
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 8 months ago.

Employment in the state of Colorado is "at will" absent an express agreement to the contrary. At will employment can be terminated for any reason not amounting to discrimination on the basis of a legally protected trait (race, religion, gender, etc.) or retaliation for engaging in certain forms of legally protected conduct (filing a wage claim, taking FMLA leave, etc.). It doesn't matter whether the basis for termination is fair, reasonable or even true. This means that an employer is your circumstance could certainly terminate an employee because you believe (rightly or wrongly) that the employee is in violation of a non-compete with a previous employer.

Termination would typically be the safest option, too. Though it is unlikely, once you become aware of an employee's non-compete with a previous employer and you continue to employ that individual, you are potentially exposing yourself to a claim for tortious interference with a business contract. It is rare that employers are sued on this grounds but it is certainly possible.

As for the employee responding to the cease and desist, no law requires someone to respond to a cease and desist letter. It's just a letter. It may "state" deadlines but those deadlines are entirely self-imposed. The employee doesn't need an attorney to respond to the letter, nor do they need to respond within any particular period of time. Of course, the risk is that if they don't respond or take the action being requested that they will be sued. Then, once they are sued, they will need to retain a lawyer and there will be strict deadlines moving forward in the litigation.

I hope that you find this information helpful. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes moving forward.

* Disclaimer *

Just Answer is a venue for informational and educational purposes only. No attorney-client relationship is formed by these communications.

Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 8 months ago.

Hello again,

I just wanted to followup with you to make sure that you did not have any further questions or concerns. For some unknown reason, the experts are not always getting replies or ratings (which is how we get credit for our work) that the customer thinks have gone through. In your case I have not yet received either. If you are having technical difficulties with reading, replying or rating, please let me know so that I can inform the site administrator.

In any event, it was a pleasure assisting you and I would be glad to attempt to assist you further on this issue, or a new legal issue, if needed.

Very best wishes.

Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 8 months ago.

It seems as though there may be technical issue with the site. Can you please let me know if you are getting my messages so that I can report this question thread to technical support if there is an issue?