Colorado workplace harassment laws protect employees from suffering offensive conduct in the workplace motivated by an unlawful reason. Workplace harassment laws in Colorado only apply to conduct that meets a legal standard of offensiveness and that conduct motivated by a legally prohibited basis. Any behavior failing to meet the standard for offensiveness or motivated by a reason not prohibited by law may be harassment under a common definition but not harassment under the legal definition. When employers create or allow a hostile work environment to exist in the Colorado workplace then the employee may have remedies under labor and employment law to pursue. If you believe you suffered a hostile work environment then you should talk to Colorado workplace harassment lawyers right away.
Workplace harassment laws in Colorado
Workplace harassment laws exist under both federal and Colorado labor and employment laws. Workplace harassment laws generally prohibit hostile work environments motivated by three reasons:
- Job discrimination motivated by a protected class
- Retaliation for exercising a legal right in the workplace
- Retaliation for reporting, opposing, or participating in an investigation or proceeding of an unlawful employment act
Employers may not create a hostile work environment motivated by a discriminatory animus towards a protected class. Protected classes under employment discrimination laws include race, sex, ethnicity, national origin, gender, age (over forty), disability, genetic information, sexual orientation and religion.
Additionally, employers cannot harass employees for exercising legal rights in the workplace. Many labor and employment laws under federal and Colorado law permit employees to exercise rights in the workplace, such as taking FMLA leave or joining a union. Those laws often include workplace harassment provisions that protect the employee from harassment arising from exercising that right.
Third, employers cannot create a hostile work environment under many labor and employment laws for participating in opposition to an unlawful employment practice. Colorado workplace harassment laws often include provisions protecting employees from retaliation for complaining about unlawful acts or participating in investigations and proceedings of complaints.
Colorado workplace harassment laws and legal remedies
Colorado workplace harassment laws often include provisions to pursue claims against employers that create harassment in the workplace. Remedies vary by the specific workplace harassment laws under federal and Colorado law. Often they allow recovery of lost wages, out of pocket losses, attorney’s fees and court costs. They may allow recovery of punitive or liquidated damages. Other remedies may be available, such as job reinstatement.
Pursuing Colorado workplace harassment claims requires pursuing the remedial procedures within the applicable statutes. Some statutes require you to follow specific procedures before filing a lawsuit. You may also have to arbitrate your claims under the terms of an employment contract or arbitration agreement. Failure to satisfy statutory or contractual provisions may delay or prohibit resolution of your claims. Talk to a workplace harassment lawyer in Colorado about your potential claims. He or she can help you assess potential claims and pursue them.