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Denver Employment Law Blog

Some may be using #MeToo as a reason to discriminate

Generally speaking, the #MeToo movement has given a lot of people the courage to speak up about sexual harassment and other inappropriate behavior in the work environment. This has been a positive thing for the most part, since no employee in Colorado should have to endure sexual harassment.

However, it has recently come to light that, instead of just making the necessary reforms to make the work environment better, some employers are using the #MeToo movement as a reason not to give women opportunities to advance their careers. According to one report, 21% of male workers with hiring authority and even 12% of females with hiring authority admitted that, in the wake of the movement, they would be less likely to hire women for positions that involved close contact with men, like positions that involved frequent business travel.

Don't stand for age discrimination in the workplace

As you've gotten older, there have been times when you thought that you were being treated differently at work because of it. You know that you're not young or as spry as you once were, but you have a solid education in your field and can stand tall among the best in your arena.

Recently, things have been getting out of hand. You went to talk to a supervisor about a project, and he laughingly told you to, "Hold on a minute, old man." You don't think he or others, who are younger than you, are taking you seriously, and you've started to notice changes in the level of respect you receive.

We work to make sure Colorado employees get overtime pay

It seems like a pretty basic idea that employees in this state should get paid what the state's laws say they are owed. For instance, Colorado has a minimum wage law, an workers should get paid at least that wage for the time that they are doing work for their employers.

Likewise, employees who put time into their jobs beyond 40 hours of week should ordinarily get extra overtime pay.

County denies claims of age discrimination despite settlements

While continuing to deny that it engaged in age discrimination during a relatively recent layoff, it has come to light that the government of Mesa County, Colorado, settled two claims filed by former employees. Both former employees had also alleged age discrimination, as they, too, were fired in connection with the same layoff.

The county apparently paid the two former employees, who are married to each other, $62,500 each in order to resolve the claims that they filed with Colorado's Civil Rights Commission. The Commission ultimately ruled that the pair had grounds to pursue their discrimination claims.

Read over employment separation agreements carefully

When employees and employers part ways, there are sometimes agreements that come along with the separation. The reason for this split might be anything from a round of layoffs to the employees resigning. No matter what it is, it is always better to part ways on good terms. The employment separation agreement can do this.

It is imperative that the agreement protects both parties as it is written. Both sides should have a chance to review the agreement and present it to their legal representation to look over. There are several things that should be included in these agreements.

Overview of national origin discrimination

People who call the Denver area home come from all parts of the world. Some are relatively recent arrivals both to Colorado and to the United States, while others may have lived here with their families for most or even all of their lives.

Both federal law and Colorado's laws protect those who come from different lands from workplace discrimination based on where they are from. At its most basic level, this means no employer in Colorado can fire, refuse to hire, punish, fail to promote, or take other adverse actions against someone because of their national origin.

Should you conduct an internal I-9 audit?

Running a business in Denver is more than just managing revenue and expenses and your employees. You must also stay in compliance with state and federal regulations. For instance, if you are a publicly traded company, you may have to submit quarterly financial reports in accordance with regulatory requirements established by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Or, if you have employees, you may need to periodically check your records in human resources to ensure that you have the appropriate documentation on hand. Failure to comply with government regulations can easily result in very expensive fines that can damage your company's bottom line.

While an internal I-9 audit it not a legal requirement, it is typically in a company's best interest to conduct one periodically to make sure you are in compliance. Here are a few reasons why you should consider performing an I-9 audit in your company.

Workers may be entitled to their vacation pay

Employers in Colorado do not have to offer paid vacation time to their employees at all. However, should they extend this benefit to their employees, workers need to remember that they may be entitled to compensation for their unused but earned vacation time.

Under Colorado law, employers are free to establish their vacation policies, including terms about how employees can use and earn vacation time. By way of example, many employers allow their workers to use their vacation time before they technically earn it, as workers will typically earn their paid time off month to month, accruing a couple of days each month.

Sexual harassment at work is a costly issue for everyone

Sexual harassment is a problem in the workplace and it creates hostility. It is imperative that all employers take steps to ensure that the company is free of all types of harassment. Not only does this make the business compliant with the law so that workers can do their jobs without being placed in an unnecessarily stressful environment, it also helps to shore up the economy. Sexual harassment victims lose around 973,000 hours in leave that is unpaid annually. The overall cost is around $4.4 million per year in this country.

There are several things that everyone should remember about sexual harassment. There doesn't have to be any actual physical contact for a person to be a victim. It is also possible to be a victim of sexual harassment if you are only a witness to someone else being sexually harassed. However, you might not have the same legal rights and claims as the primary victim.

We can help negotiate your severance agreement

No employee in the Denver area wants to get the dreaded call in to the boss's office or up to human resources for an unspecified conversation or, worse, a conversation about their future at the company. These sorts of conversations usually end with the employee's getting terminated, either for cause or otherwise.

Employers too, although perhaps for different reasons, rarely find it best to fire an employee they spent time and money to train.

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