No employee likes to put their job at risk by formally complaining about the actions of their employer. It’s much easier, and safer, to go along with the crowd and keep your head down. But if you are aware of activities you feel compelled to report, it’s important to understand what the law is and what you can to do take advantage of its protections.
Colorado has two primary laws which provide protection to potential whistleblowers. Colorado Statute Section 24-50.5-103 covers public employees who work for state government entities. Colorado Statute Section 24-114-102 covers employees who work for private businesses and organizations. The protections provided by the two statutes are very similar.
Whistleblower laws cover employees who disclose information about their employer, when that information concerns illegal or unethical activities. The laws prevent the employer from retaliating against the employee – they cannot initiate or administer any disciplinary action for disclosing the information. However, there are limits to the laws’ protection which the employee must be aware of.
If the employee discloses information which they know to be false, or disregard the truth or falsity of the information, they will not be protected by the statutes. Additionally, the laws do not allow the employee to disclose some confidential information. And for public employees, they cannot disclose information from public records that is open to public inspection.
Both public and private employees must first attempt to handle the problem internally before disclosing the information. The whistleblower laws require the employee to disclose the information to their supervisor or other authority prior to disclosing the information outside of the organization.