The State of Colorado follows the doctrine of “employment-at-will”.
Roughly speaking, that means that neither the employer nor the employee need provide a reason for ending an employer-employee relationship.
On the other hand, there are some reasons that are simply illegal.
If an employer fires someone for these reasons, then they have cause to sue their former employer.
Here, we will discuss wrongful termination and what you can do if you have been wrongfully discharged by your employer.
Wrongful Discharge Due to Discrimination
One major reason that cannot form the basis of an employer’s decision to terminate an employee is discrimination. Federal law prohibits employers from firing an employee based on protected characteristics. Those characteristics include:
- Nation of origin,
- And age.
Colorado itself has laws concerning discrimination which include all of the protected characteristics mentioned above and these as well:
- Sexual orientation,
- And gender identification.
Colorado does not exclude any employers from conforming to anti-discrimination laws, even those that only have one employee. The laws in Colorado are much stricter than those issued by the federal government.
The Colorado Civil Rights Division enforces state laws that prohibit discrimination.
Wrongful Discharge Due to Retaliation
Let’s say that an employee is working for a company and she is the victim of sexual harassment by a manager or co-worker. She files a complaint with the human resources department stating that is employee or manager is repeatedly asking her out despite the fact that she has stated that she is not interested. Colorado law prohibits the company from retaliating against the employee by firing or demoting her.
This law, however, is not restricted by the kind of harassment. If an employee complains about missing a promotion due to gender, age, race, or any other protected characteristics, and then fired by the company, this is also illegal. In addition, if a company fires an employee for reporting a hostile work environment, that too is illegal.
Other Claims of Wrongful Discharge
It is illegal for an employer to fire a worker for any of the following reasons:
- The employee has filed a complaint with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment;
- Military leave;
- Time off due to jury duty;
- Taking time off to vote;
- Taking family or medical leave;
- Requesting workers’ compensation;
- Reporting workplace or safety violations;
- Legal conduct done off work hours that does not interfere with their job-related duties;
- Refusing to do something illegal.
Contact a Wrongful Termination Attorney in Colorado
If you got fired for illegal reasons, you deserve compensation. Contact the employment lawyers at the Olson Law Firm and we can begin compiling evidence for your case right away.