Employment discrimination lawyers in Denver, Colorado represent clients in employment lawsuits related to discriminatory employment practices. Under federal and Colorado employment law an employer cannot discriminate against employees or applicants on the basis of any protected characteristic or trait. Employees and applicants who suffer unlawful employment discrimination may recover for lost wages and other remedies.
Employment discrimination cases involve technical rules and procedures. Failure to follow these procedures can result in employees losing their employment discrimination claims. For these and many other reasons, employees in Colorado should contact a Denver employment lawyer right away to discuss possible claims.
Table of Contents
- What is employment discrimination
- Types of unlawful discrimination in Colorado
- Adverse employment action discrimination
- Harassment discrimination in Colorado
- Retaliation for reporting discrimination
- Employment discrimination lawyers in Denver
What is employment discrimination in Colorado?
Employment discrimination involves claims for unlawful practices by an employer on the basis of protected characteristics and traits. Employment discrimination laws protect these immutable traits to create a level playing field for meaningful employment. Unlawful employment discrimination claims arise when employers take action against an employee on the basis of a protected characteristic or trait. An employer is free to discriminate on the basis of any characteristic or trait not protected by federal or Colorado law.
Between federal and Colorado employment law employment discrimination is unlawful on the basis of:
- National origin
- Age (over forty)
- Sexual orientation
Employment discrimination claims may arise when an employer takes the following actions on the basis of a protected characteristic or trait:
- Failure to hire
- Failure to promote
- Pay differences
- Harassment or hostile work environment
- Refusal to provide reasonable accommodation (disability and religion)
Types of unlawful employment discrimination in Denver, Colorado
Federal and Colorado employment law protects employees and applicants from discrimination at work. Employment discrimination lawyers help clients seek remedies when employers violate federal and Colorado employment law by discriminating against workers and applicants. If you believe you have an employment discrimination case then you should contact a Denver employment lawyer right away. Below are unlawful forms of discrimination under federal and Colorado law. If you believe any apply to you then contact a Denver employment lawyer.
Racial discrimination and ethnic discrimination
Discrimination on the basis of race or ethnicity is prohibited by several federal laws and Colorado law. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 prohibit discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color and ethnicity. The difference between race and ethnicity is not always especially clear because these terms do not carry sharp differences in the United States. Colorado law also prohibits racial discrimination and ethnic discrimination.
National origin discrimination
Title VII and Colorado law prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of national origin. National origin relates to both the individual employee as well as the person’s family heritage. National origin discrimination often involves racial or ethnic discrimination as well.
Age discrimination is prohibited by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and Colorado employment law. Both prohibit discrimination against workers and applicants who are forty or older. In addition to prohibiting discriminatory acts, federal law requires employers who offer severance or other layoff incentives to conform to specific requirements that allows older workers the opportunity to consult with employment lawyers in Colorado about the merits of the offer.
Sex discrimination and gender discrimination
Sex and gender discrimination are unlawful forms of employment discrimination under federal and Colorado law. Gender discrimination and sex discrimination relate to the biological or physical sex of the individual in addition to that person’s gender identity. Additionally, employers may not discriminate on the basis of pregnancy or childbirth. Federal law prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sex and gender under Title VII, the Equal Pay Act and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. Colorado employment law also prohibits sex and gender-based discrimination.
Sex discrimination and gender discrimination can occur in a number of ways including:
- Discriminatory acts in favor of one sex over another
- Sexual harassment and other acts motivated by sexual or romantic desire
- Applying sex or gender stereotypes
- Same-sex harassment
- Discriminating against employees who are pregnant or have children
- Discrimination against transgender employees
Sexual orientation discrimination
Sexual orientation discrimination is discrimination on the basis of an individual’s sexual or romantic preferences. Federal law does not explicitly prohibit sexual orientation discrimination; however, Colorado law does. Sexual orientation discrimination may be discriminatory acts against an employee or applicant for holding one sexual preference or against an employee who does not share a supervisor’s preference.
Religious discrimination is prohibited under Title VII and Colorado employment law. It includes discrimination against an employee or applicant on the basis of the individual’s religious belief (or lack of religious belief) or the individual’s religious practices. Religious discrimination includes discrimination against an entire religion or a sect of a religion.
Additionally, Title VII and Colorado law require employers to provide reasonable accommodations to a sincere religious belief or practice. Under religious discrimination law an employer’s duty to accommodate is limited by any undue hardship the accommodation would cause. The standard for reasonable accommodation is specific to the requested accommodation and the hardship caused to the employer. An employer must prove little hardship to prove an accommodation is unreasonable.
Disability discrimination is prohibited under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Colorado employment law and certain other federal laws. An employer may not discriminate against an employee or applicant who suffers a disability, has a history of a disability or is perceived to have a disability.
Additionally, the ADA and Colorado law require employers to provide reasonable accommodations to a disability to assist the employee in performing the essential functions of the job and to obtain meaningful access to the workplace. The standard for a reasonable accommodation is much higher for disability discrimination than religious discrimination.
Adverse employment action discrimination claims under federal and Colorado employment law
Employment discrimination lawyers in Colorado represent clients in employment discrimination claims for adverse employment actions by the employer. Most employment discrimination claims occur because an employer took an adverse employment act against the employee or applicant. Adverse employment acts are any acts the employer takes that produces a materially adverse effect on the employee or applicant. This includes terminations, demotions, failure to hire, failure to promote, pay cuts, benefit reductions and reducing job opportunities.
There are two types of adverse employment action claims. Adverse employment actions may occur because the employer intentionally intended to cause harm to the employee or employer. These are disparate treatment claims. Most adverse employment action claims employment discrimination lawyers pursue are disparate treatment claims. An employer might engage in adverse employment actions unintentionally by implementing facially neutral policies that have a discriminatory impact. These are disparate impact claims. Disparate impact claims are often class action lawsuits.
Harassment and hostile work environment in Colorado
Harassment is another type of employment discrimination claim. It occurs from unwelcome verbal or physical conduct based on any characteristic protected by law when: (1) the behavior can reasonably be considered to adversely affect the work environment; or (2) an employment decision affecting the employee is based upon the employee’s acceptance or rejection of such conduct. Most people think of harassment as sexual harassment but a harassment or hostile work environment claim may arise under any type of employment discrimination.
Quid pro quo harassment
Quid pro quo harassment occurs when an employer requires an employee or applicant to do (or not do) something to avoid an adverse employment action. Tying an employment act to the employee’s consent to the employer’s demand creates a claim for quid pro quo harassment.
Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when a supervisor requires an employee to consent to a sex or romantic act to either gain a benefit (like a raise) or avoid a harm (like a demotion). It can occur on other protected traits like requiring an employee to consent to the supervisor’s religious practices. Employment discrimination lawyers in Denver, Colorado represent clients in quid pro quo harassment claims.
Hostile work environment harassment
Hostile work environment harassment occurs when the employer causes or allows the workplace to become so hostile through unwelcome conduct that it adversely affects the terms and conditions of employment. A hostile work environment may occur because management takes adverse employment actions against the employee or other individuals in the workplace engage in offensive conduct that materially affects the victim. Denver employment lawyers represent clients in hostile work environment claims. A hostile work environment is unlawful if it is based upon a protected trait.
Conduct is creates a hostile work environment if it is:
- Subjectively offensive to the employee
- Objectively offensive to a reasonable person
- Severe or pervasive
- Adversely affects the employee’s job or the workplace
Retaliation claims for employment discrimination
In addition to adverse employment action and harassment claims, employment discrimination lawyers represent employees in retaliation claims. Under federal and Colorado law an employer may not retaliate against employees who:
- File a complaint of employment discrimination against the employee
- File a complaint of employment discrimination on behalf of another employee
- Participate in an investigation, hearing, or lawsuit of an employment discrimination claim
- File a lawsuit, EEOC complaint, CCRD complaint, or arbitration demand for an employment discrimination claim
Retaliation claims may involve an intentional adverse employment action or harassment claim. An employer cannot retaliate against an employee even if the underlying complaint of employment discrimination is untrue or inconclusive so long as the employee suffering retaliation participated in the protected activity in good faith. Denver employment lawyers represent employees in retaliation claims.
Who are employment discrimination lawyers in Denver, Colorado?
Employment discrimination lawyers in Denver, Colorado are often Denver employment lawyers who represent employees in a wide range of employment law cases. Employees may also find representation through trial attorneys and other plaintiff’s attorneys in Denver, Colorado. Employment discrimination lawyers may work for a wide range of employment law firms and other law firms. Most Denver employment lawyers accept clients in employment discrimination lawsuits.
Employers defend discrimination claims with the help of employer-side lawyers. Employment discrimination lawyers who represent employers usually do not represent employees.
How do I find an employment discrimination lawyer in Colorado?
Finding an employment discrimination lawyer in Colorado is similar to the way clients find other employment lawyers. Common ways to find Denver employment lawyers include:
- Searching for a Denver employment lawyer online
- Reviewing attorney directories for employment discrimination lawyers
- Asking for referrals from people you know
- Requesting employment lawyer referrals from the Colorado bar or Denver bar associations
- Seeking referrals from other attorneys
When seeking Denver employment lawyers for employment discrimination cases you should carefully consider many factors before hiring an attorney. You may want to schedule consultations with several employment discrimination lawyers before hiring a lawyer to represent you.
Denver employment lawyers for employment discrimination
If you believe you have an employment discrimination claim then contact Denver employment lawyers right away. These claims often require following special procedures. Failure to follow these procedures can result in losing your claim. Denver employment lawyers are familiar with these procedures. They can ensure your claim starts on the right foot and help build a strong case. Denver employment lawyers work with the EEOC and CCRD to pursue discrimination claims. Carefully research Denver employment lawyers for your discrimination claim.