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Denver Employment Law Blog

Warehouse workers accuse Amazon of wrongful termination

A total of seven women who once worked for Amazon have separately accused the online retail giant of pregnancy discrimination and wrongful termination.

The women, who are from several different states, each alleged that Amazon forced them out of their warehouse jobs because they got pregnant. Amazon denies the allegations and has suggested that these women were fired for good cause, including the violation of workplace rules.

Getting older? Don't let age discrimination hold you back

As you get older, you learn more about your job. You advance in your career, earn more and continue learning to make sure you're keeping up with all the new changes in the workforce. Over time, you find a great position, and you believe that you should continue to advance.

However, age discrimination can get in the way if you're not careful about recognizing it. People who are age 40 or older are protected against age discrimination by law. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission states that it is unlawful to harass or discriminate against a person due to their age.

Fiscal year 2018 pregnancy discrimination stats are available

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or "EEOC," the number of pregnancy discrimination claims filed with the federal agency dropped from 3,174 to 2,790 between the fiscal year 2017 and 2018. The EEOC is the federal agency tasked with enforcing the employment discrimination laws of the United States. A separate organization enforces Colorado's state-specific anti-discrimination laws. This is the lowest number of pregnancy discrimination charges submitted to EEOC since 2010 and represents about a 12% drop in the number of claims filed in fiscal year 2017.

The reason for the drop in the number of claims is not entirely clear, but what is especially interesting is that, despite the drop, the EEOC reports that it collected $16.6 million in benefits on behalf of pregnant women who alleged their employers discriminated against them because they were pregnant.

You cannot be forced to work off the clock

A previous post here discussed how a major corporation in the Denver area has been accused of violating wage and hour laws. The post explained that the corporation had been accused of giving its employees too much work to do in order to effectively force them into working uncompensated overtime.

Should these allegations be proven, then it would mean that the company violated a basic principle of employment law. That principle is that workers who get paid by the hour must get compensated for all time worked.

Study links age discrimination to physical and mental health

Age discrimination can have a drastic impact on a person's career, just as allegations of discrimination can drastically impact a company's future moving forward. However, most studies done on this topic focus on the financial impact, the changes to career goals, the impact on reputation, the legalities of the cases and other such topics. They take a very business-oriented focus.

That said, a new study took a groundbreaking approach and opted to look at the potential impacts on a person's physical and mental health. It found that age discrimination -- or just the perceptions of such discrimination -- could be detrimental on both fronts.

Always document your workplace harassment experience

Many people in every field of work experience some form of harassment or discrimination on a daily basis, and may have strong grounds to take legal action. If you experience harassment while on the job, it is wise to document it carefully, building a strong collection of evidence to support a legal claim.

The more corroborating evidence you present when you file a harassment claim, the more difficult it is for the violating party to spin the situation, or for your employer to ignore or deny your allegations. Building a strong claim takes time, and you may need to go through several steps before you officially take legal action, so it is crucial that you gather as much evidence as possible along the way.

Major corporation accused of violating overtime laws

DaVita, a large corporation based in Denver, is facing almost 40 lawsuits alleging that the company violated wage and hour laws. The lawsuits are pending before a federal court.

According to reports, managers at the company were encouraged to violate wage and hour laws in order to meet the goals of the corporation. The corporation serves as the nation's second largest network of dialysis clinics. These clinics, in turn, offer those with poor kidney function life-saving treatments.

Proposed rule will give overtime protection to more workers

The United States Department of Labor has proposed raising the threshold that certain employees must earn before they can qualify for an exemption from mandatory overtime.

Whether an employee is exempt or not is a huge question both for employees and employers in the Denver area. The advantage to employers is that they may require, or effectively require, an exempt employee to work well over a 40-hour week without paying a dime of overtime compensation.

Workplace discrimination: Take these steps as a victim

Workplace discrimination can take on many forms. Even with federal and state laws in place to prohibit discrimination, this remains a problem in companies of all sizes and in all industries.

If you have reason to believe you were the victim of workplace discrimination, here are five steps you need to take:

  • Report the behavior to your employer: Make it clear that you know what's happening, and that the conduct is unacceptable. It's best to file a formal complaint with the HR department, and request a copy of the written report.
  • Don't let it go: Your HR department may tell you that they're looking into the incident. From there, several weeks go by and you don't hear anything. Rather than let it go, continue to follow up to determine where things stand.
  • Keep good records: You don't want your discrimination claim to turn into a "he said, she said" battle. To protect against this, keep a diary that outlines all incidents. At a minimum, write down the date, time, location, people involved and the details of what occurred.
  • Keep physical evidence: Along with written records, physical evidence can come in handy in the future. For example, if a supervisor sent you an email that backs up your claim, keep a copy of it in a safe place.
  • Read your employee handbook: It's here that you're likely to find your company's anti-discrimination policy. Read through this to ensure that your company is following the protocol they have in place.

What is the point of that "essential job functions" list?

A Denver resident who is applying for a position has probably noticed that, these days, most job descriptions include a list of "essential job functions." Usually, these are in addition to the actual description of the job and the list of required skills and experience.

Among other things, the reason employers put the list of essential job functions in a job description relates to disability discrimination. Under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, most Colorado employers are not allowed to discriminate against employees, or prospective employees, who have documented disabilities. Ordinarily, this means that an employer will need to accommodate a worker's disability if the employer can do so reasonably.

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