What Rights Do You Have in Your Workplace?
It should be easy, right? You show up to your job, you do your work, your boss pays you. Easy and transactional. Unfortunately, it is not always so simple. Not all employees show up to do quality work, and not all employers are willing to do what is fair in return for quality work. It has been a long road of conflict after conflict between the worker and the boss to get to where we are today. Fortunately, you are reading this after much of the road has been already been paved to prevent these issues from arising again.
There are still many people in the workforce who are not fully aware of their employee rights in Colorado, or more importantly, when their employers are not living up to them. Most people at one time or another have been frustrated with their employers and needed to vent to a coworker or friend, but it is important to know when something is really not right.
Thanks to the Job Protection and Civil Rights Enforcement Act of 2013, signed into law by Governor John Hickenlooper, your employer is not allowed to discriminate against employees in regard to their race, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability (mental or physical), or marital status (including marriage to a co-worker).
Prior to this law, an employer could only be at risk of violating this if they employed 15 people or more, but now this also applies to workplaces with 15 people or fewer.
Sexual harassment rules are some of the ways Colorado protects you from having to endure a hostile work environment. One cause of this is unwelcome sexual advances, or any requests for sexual favors in the workplace when denial of which would threaten a worker’s employment status.
Fortunately, employees are protected by the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act from being harassed in the workplace based on sexual orientation. This act gives employees the right to be open about their sexual orientation preferences without the fear of being mistreated by their coworkers or management.
Also, when working for a company of 25 people or more, employees have the right to be married to another employee without fear of losing their job or being harassed. As long as one spouse will not have authoritative status over their spouse in the workplace, does not have access to the spouse’s payroll information, and will not be entrusted with money by the spouse in the workplace, the employer cannot refuse to hire or terminate a person’s employment based on this marital status.
If you are ever in a situation where you learn that a coworker or a supervisor is participating in illegal activities, there are laws that protect you after you come clean to management. As long as you are being honest, the state of Colorado protects you from being discriminated against, terminated, or demoted for reporting illegal activities happening in your workplace.
Employees “At Will”
Colorado is one of many “at will” employment states, meaning the employer has the right to terminate employment at any time without cause, and the employee has the right to leave their job at any time without giving notice. However, this does not necessarily apply to every job.
If you are a government employee, union employee, or independent contractor, your employer may be breaking the law by terminating employment without cause. However, even employees who work outside of these terms can call out wrongful termination if they feel their termination was actually motivated by discrimination, sexual harassment reasons, or whistleblowing.
If any of these scenarios have happened to you, Bachus & Schanker, LLC can help you get fair compensation. Contact us today for a free initial case evaluation.
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