Denver Employment Law Articles

Employer Articles

Downsizing and Avoiding Discrimination
One of an employer’s nightmares is having to downsize its labor force. A greater nightmare than that is the realization that once you have carried out a reduction in force (RIF), you have now exposed yourself to claims of discrimination as a result of the selection process. As an employment attorney who has represented both employers and employees, I would like to raise the consciousness of employers by providing some common sense tips on things that can be done to avoid discrimination claims.

Read More

Do your employee handbooks invite lawsuits for wrongful termination?
If you are comfortably resting on the belief that you can discharge your employees for any or no reasons, due to the at-will nature of employment in Colorado, perhaps it is time to take a close look at your employee handbook. COLORADO JURIES HAVE AWARDED VERDICTS IN EXCESS OF TWO HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS (in the case of Allabashi V. Lincoln Nat’l Sales Corp. ), TO MORE THAN 2 MILLION DOLLARS FOR BREACH OF CONTRACT ARISING FROM A HANDBOOK. This article will present an overview of Colorado decisions addressing contracts arising out of employee manuals, even in those situations where the employee is advised, and agrees to, the status of an “at-will” employee, subject to termination at the whim (or discretion, with or without reason) of the employer.

Read More.

Can you reduce the risk of lawsuits for wrongful termination by inclusion of internal grievance procedures in employee handbooks?
In today’s complex business world, employers often publish employee manuals or handbooks. Such handbooks or manuals may provide the lynchpin for an employee to file a suit against the employer for wrongful discharge in violation of the “contract” provisions in the handbook. Colorado is an “at-will” employment state, which means that an employee can be fired for any reason or no reason, except one that is violative of law or contract. Why then should an employer provide, in such a manual, contract provisions that weaken the “at-will” provisions of law? One of the answers is that the Human Resource functions of today’s corporations need to provide guidelines to employees of what is expected. Extreme care must be exercised in the drafting of such manuals to lessen the likelihood that the manual is interpreted as altering the “at-will” status that you, as an employer, may expect.

Read More

ADEA
Protect Yourself Against Age Claims.
Despite our economic upturn, a growing number of workers, over the age of forty, find themselves replaced by younger workers. In 2017, 18,376 age-related employment complaints were filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which represented 21.8% of all discrimination complaints filed with the EEOC in 2017. The majority of the cases involved either layoffs or dismissals. Older workers are often the most likely to go, because of their higher pay and the expectation that they will generate higher health costs.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), is a federal law which prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of age. An employee is protected from discrimination based on age if he is over 40. If you feel that you have been a victim of age discrimination, it is important that you know your legal rights, and the actions you must take to prevent loss of your rights to a remedy.

Read Me

USERRA
Your Obligations To Employees Serving In The Armed Services.
Membership in the armed forces creates certain employment rights for employees, who have been called to active duty while in the reserve armed services. The employee has special rights to reemployment, and freedom from discrimination. Being cognizant of those rights and your duties will help prevent costly litigation.
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), 38 USC §4301, et. Seq., is the federal law which governs in these situations. The law applies to any employer, regardless of size. USERRA prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of military status, whether past, present, future or contemplated, and requires the employer to grant unpaid leave to the employee and provides a means for continuation of medical coverage. The principle underlying this law of protecting reemployment rights of veterans is that one who is called to colors is not to be penalized on his return by reason of his absence from his civilian job.

Read More


Employee Articles

Collecting Unemployment Benefits in Colorado
If you are one of the millions of Americans who have become unemployed, through no fault of their own, you need to understand your rights to collect unemployment compensation, during the period that you are unemployed, and while seeking other gainful employment. This article will discuss the specific right to unemployment insurance benefits in the State of Colorado, from the process of application for benefits through the process of appealing decisions denying unemployment benefits to you. The procedures vary state by state and you should retain knowledgeable and experienced counsel to help you navigate the system.
Unemployment Insurance in Colorado is governed by the COLORADO EMPLOYMENT SECURITY ACT 2016. The Act is administered pursuant to numerous regulations. Once you glance at these sources, you will understand why I recommend employing experienced counsel from the time of receiving your initial denial of benefits.
Read More
ADEA: Your Age and Your Job
Despite our economic upturn, a growing number of workers, over the age of forty, find themselves replaced by younger workers. In 2017, 18,376 age-related employment complaints were filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which represented 21.8% of all discrimination complaints filed with the EEOC in 2017. The majority of the cases involved either layoffs or dismissals. Older workers are often the most likely to go, because of their higher pay and the expectation that they will generate higher health costs.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), is a federal law which prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of age. An employee is protected from discrimination based on age if he is over 40. If you feel that you have been a victim of age discrimination, it is important that you know your legal rights, and the actions you must take to prevent loss of your rights to a remedy.
Read More
So You Blew The Whistle. Now What?
After years of hard work, during which you “paid your dues” to reach the promotional level you were aiming for, and with future prospects bright, a moral dilemma smacks you right in the face. Six years after you were hired, you became an administrative assistant in the Labor Relations Department of the large, publicly traded, retail company for which you worked. You were given the job of taking paper documents in the department library and transferring them to a digital format. Just after starting that job the company received a subpoena requiring the production of all documents relating to union-labor relations for the past 15 years. The investigation of the grand jury involved the investigation of a former company executive on suspicion of fraud. Upon receiving the subpoena, the company attorney emailed each member of the Labor Relations Department and instructed them to preserve all documents related to the subpoena. Within 15 minutes of that email, a meeting was called by your supervisor, and you and the members of your project team were directed to take the hard copies of documents required by the subpoena and shred them.
You refused to do as directed as you felt that the documents you were asked to destroy were part of those requested by the subpoena and you also felt that the company was trying to hide evidence that would have helped to clear the name of the executive under investigation. You called the former executive and reported what was taking place and the FBI, with whom you cooperated, and the FBI then interviewed you.
What a great feeling you had at having done the right thing! You rightfully expected to be recognized for being an outstanding employee who fought to uphold the law. Unfortunately, that is not what happened. Instead, you were met with hostile treatment by your supervisors and coworkers. You suffered retaliation, including destruction of your personal property, in a physically threatening manner, menacing surveillance of your activities, ridicule, insults, and a pattern of exclusion and isolation. Your complaints of retaliation were not only ignored, but intimidating comments were made about your complaints, and you were ultimately fired. What are your legal rights?
Read More
The “Glass Ceiling” – Has it Prevented Employment to Your Full Potential?
“Glass ceiling” is a term that describes the artificial plateau, beyond which women and other minorities are denied the opportunity to advance to upper levels of executive management in corporate America. The United States Federal Glass Ceiling Commission defined the glass ceiling as “the unseen, yet unbreachable barrier that keeps minorities and women from rising to the upper rungs of the corporate ladder, regardless of their qualifications or achievements.”
Read More
Public Policy and Employment at Will in Colorado
It is the law in Colorado, as in most states, that, in the absence of an explicit contract to the contrary, every employment is presumed to be an “at-will” employment. What this means is that either the employer or the employee are free to terminate the employment at any time for no cause whatever and without notice…
Recognizing the need to protect the interests of both employer and employee, courts have created a number of exceptions to the employment “at-will” relationship that impose legal liability on the employer in a situation where discrimination did not exist. One of those exceptions is the public-policy exception to employment “at-will”.
Read More
Reduction in Force – Have You Been Discriminated Against?
If you are facing a situation where you have been terminated from your job because of a reduction in force (RIF), an analysis should be made as to whether or not your employer’s choice of yourself as part of the downsizing was motivated, in whole or in part, by any discriminatory reasons. Even though business necessity might force employers to reduce their workforce, such business necessity does not allow them to discriminate, in violation of Federal or state law, in the process of selecting those employees to be downsized.
Since many older workers are also being paid higher salaries paid by their employer, the older worker may become a logical target by the employer. If the employer’s selection criteria target only older workers, there may be a violation of the Federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).
Read More
Disability Discrimination in the Workplace
Despite increased sensitivity to physical and mental disabilities, many of America’s workers find themselves to be victims of employment discrimination due to their disability. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reports that in 2017 there were 26,838 charges filed by employees against employers alleging disability discrimination.
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended, (ADA) is a federal law that prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of a “qualified” disability. Employees living with a physical disability have the protection of federal law, not to give them preferential treatment, but to level the playing field. With the protection of the ADA, a worker who, despite a disability, is able to perform the essential functions of his job is entitled to reasonable accommodation from the employer, if needed. If you feel that you have been a victim of disability discrimination, it is important that you know your legal rights, and the actions you must take to prevent loss of your right to a remedy.
Read More
False Accusations in Job Terminations: Defamation or Sander in Colorado
It is a sufficiently traumatic experience to be terminated from a job for a lawful reason. However, it is devastating to the employee, and his or her future career, to be fired because of a false accusation of committing criminal or other job misconduct. As one author stated, “In modern times, the potential for the careless, or worse, the intentional falsehood to destroy livelihoods, disrupt families, and damage friendships has been viewed almost without exception by English and American judges as so serious a wrong that no judicial system would dare abandon a remedy for it.” See, Curbing the High Price of Loose Talk, by Diane Leenheer Zimmerman, 18 U.C. Davis Law Review 359. This article will discuss the remedy in Colorado for such conduct. If you feel that you have been a victim of defamation, it is important that you know your legal rights, and the actions you must take to prevent loss of your right to a remedy.
Read More

Employment Law Articles

EMPLOYMENT LAW: OVERVIEW OF THE LAW

The Guide to Employment Law That No Employee or Employer Should Be Without