When is recording conversations legal in Colorado?

hand holding phone, recording conversationsNo matter what kind of lawsuit you are looking to file, the most important element of your case will always be evidence — do you have any and how strong is it? Regardless of whether you are involved in a discrimination case with your employer or a case against the police, your cell phone is often your best defense. You always have the power to pull it out and start recording conversations or situations if you think something illegal is happening or about to happen. Most of the time, you are within your rights to do so.

The best kind of evidence

Discrimination lawsuits are some of the hardest to win because they often rely on how conduct by an employer is interpreted. Sometimes an employer’s specific language, tone, or comparative actions are key to understanding how something said or done is discriminatory. Context is often key. To prove that something illegal actually took place, you need to have solid evidence that you were treated differently because of your protected class status. And you want that to be clear. The best kind of evidence you can have is video or audio evidence. It’s difficult for someone to deny something or say that it wasn’t meant the way you interpreted it when you have a recording of the activity in context. In a time when pretty much everyone has a portable video camera and audio recorder in their pocket, it has become much easier to prove illegal conduct through records like audio and video evidence.

Recording conversations and the law

Recording conversations legally is pretty easy in Colorado. Colorado recording law stipulates that it is a “one-party consent state.” What that means is that only one party to a communication needs to be aware of a recording in order to lawfully consent to the creation of the recording. In Colorado, it is a criminal offense to use any device to record communications whether it’s wire, oral or electronic without the consent of at least one person taking part in the communication. … “One party consent” means that in Colorado, you are legally allowed to record a conversation you take part in.” (recordinglaw.com) Now, if you are in a situation where you are trying to record other people where you are not involved in the conversation, it’s only legal if they are in a public place — and therefore have no reasonable expectation of privacy — or if you make it known to at least one of the participants that you are recording. Otherwise, it’s considered eavesdropping.

Recording conversations in the workplace

Under many circumstances, the workplace is considered a public place. However, eavesdropping laws are serious business. So we do not recommend recording if you are not a party to the conversation, without consulting a qualified attorney first. However, most conversations you are aware of probably involve you, so most times recording conversations and/or phone calls with your employer (or whoever is discriminating against you), is fair game. Thus, recording your boss at work without him or her knowing is sometimes the best way to legally obtain critical evidence. Circumstances may only practically allow you to get audio evidence with a phone recorder turned on in your pocket or purse, but it still can provide solid evidence and can help your case. If problems are arising during group meetings, and you are part of those meetings, it is also likely legal for you to record those too. Unless your company has legal rules against it, it’s fine in most cases as long as you aren’t planning on doing anything illegal with the recordings, like blackmailing someone or selling company secrets. And if you want to be 100% sure that your recording will be legal, simply start recording and immediately say, “Do you mind if I record this?”

Company policies regarding recording

It is important to be aware of any company policies that may prohibit recording in the workplace. There may be legitimate security or privacy reasons companies prohibit recording in certain areas. Violating legitimate company policies could inadvertently place you in hot water. However, some company policies that prohibit recording may be illegal and/or unenforceable. In 2015, for example, “the National Labor Relations Board ruled that blanket no-recording policies by employers violate workers’ right to engage in ‘concerted activity’ about the terms of their employment.” You should consult an attorney to help navigate nuances in this area.

What to do next?

If you feel you are being discriminated against at your job, it is important to gather and save evidence that can make a difference. That can often involve audio or video recordings. After that, you need to find an attorney who is experienced in fighting workplace discrimination. Call the Civil Rights Litigation Group at 720-515-6165, or use our online contact form, to schedule your free consultation with us today. We’ll aggressively fight in court and make sure your rights are protected and you are treated fairly.

Call 720-515-6165

You have a right to your personnel files

woman reading through personnel filesIf you ever feel that your rights have been violated by an employer or think you may need to consider legal action against a current or former employer, it may be important for you to obtain your personnel files. Those files may contain information that helps you prove discrimination, harassment, or other civil rights violations. It could also help you prove that the reasons an employer has provided for adverse employment action against you are untrue. Employers should not make it difficult for you to get that kind of information. While there is no federal law requiring employers to give employees access to personnel files, Colorado does have a law that affords you a right to obtain your personnel file.

In 2016, Colorado passed House Bill 16-1432 that requires private sector employers to allow current employees access to their personnel files once a year, and former employees one-time access after leaving employment. (If you are a public employee, you are already allowed access to your personnel files through the Colorado Open Records Act.)

C.R.S. § 8-2-129, provides, in part:
“Every employer shall, at least annually, upon the request of an employee, permit that employee to inspect and obtain a copy of any part of his or her own personnel file or files at the employer’s office and at a time convenient to both the employer and the employee. A former employee may make one inspection of his or her personnel file after termination of employment. An employer may restrict the employee’s or former employee’s access to his or her files to be only in the presence of a person responsible for managing personnel data on behalf of the employer or another employee designated by the employer. The employer may require the employee or former employee to pay the reasonable cost of duplication of documents.”

It should be noted that this law doesn’t apply to financial institutions chartered and supervised under state or federal law, such as banks, trust companies, savings institutions, and credit unions.

woman looking through folders of personnel filesWhat exactly are personnel files?

The term personnel file is defined in this law as “the personnel records of an employee … that are used or have been used to determine the employee’s qualifications for employment, promotion, additional compensation, or employment termination or other disciplinary action.”

However, it does not include all records. Pursuant to the law, your employer is not required to give you access to the following documents:

  1. Documents required by state or federal law to be maintained in a separate file (such as medical or FLMA documents)
  2. Confidential reports from the employee’s previous employer
  3. Documents pertaining to an active criminal investigation
  4. Documents pertaining to an active disciplinary investigation
  5. Documents pertaining to an active investigation by a regulatory agency
  6. Documents identifying a person who made a confidential accusation (as determined by the employer) against the employee requesting the personnel files.

Is my employer required to create or keep these files?

Not necessarily. The new law does not require employers to create or maintain records that they do not already keep in the course of running their business. Some employers may not do performance reviews or keep anything but basic contact and tax information on their employees, as a matter of practice. This law does not require them to change those practices. The statute does not do any of the following:

  1. Create a private cause of action, (meaning it does not create a new way for you to sue)
  2. Require employers to create, maintain, or retain personnel files of employees or former employees
  3. Create any new record retention requirements.

Since this particular law does not require employers to retain any personnel files, it is imperative that you request them as soon as possible. While most companies already have their own policies in place regarding the retention of records (and institutions may be penalized for not retaining records once they are put on notice that litigation is imminent), it is often necessary to review your personnel records to know whether you have a good case or whether litigation is in your best interest. Either way, it is a good practice to review your personnel files after leaving a job.

If you are a current employee — regardless of whether you have any issues at work or not — it’s good practice to review your performance reviews and similar files (promotions, transfers, demotions, etc.). If you are ever written up or have an incident with another employee (unless confidential), request copies of those documents as well. Finally, if your employer has done something to make you think your rights have been violated, let them know — preferably in writing (so that there is a record of your concern). It would be a violation of your rights for them to retaliate against you for this. This could trigger the responsibility for your employer to retain all related records (not just personnel records).

How do I get access to my personnel files?

You ask for them. However, while an employer is required to give you access upon request, you cannot expect an employer to drop everything and provide you this kind of information, at any time, unannounced. An employer may take a reasonable amount of time to respond to a request. The best thing to do is contact them by email so you have a record of all communication. If the employer has a human resources department, contact them first. If there is no HR department, then email your supervisor and/or a person whom you believe has control over personnel files. Many employers have a specific form to fill out for access to your files. Once they send the form to you, return it to them by email/fax (if possible) so that you again have a record of it. If you fill it out on a website, see if there is an option to print the form so you have a record of submitting it.

It is always a good practice to create a paper trail if anything you do might be questioned or otherwise might become evidence in a lawsuit. If you are involved in any kind of dispute with your employer, keep a record of everything. Sometimes you must be the one to document issues, record conversations, or otherwise gather evidence necessary for an attorney to advocate for you later.

Additional details set forth by this law, include:

  • Current employees can request copies of personnel files at least annually and an ex-employee can request access to their files once after termination of employment
  • The inspection and copying shall occur at the employer’s office.
  • The inspection must be at a time that is convenient to both the employee and employer.
  • The employer can require the inspection to occur in the presence of another person designated by the employer.
  • The employer may require the employee to pay the reasonable costs of duplication of documents.

If the employer refuses to give you access to your personnel files, file a complaint with the Colorado Department of Labor.

What if I disagree with what’s in my personnel files?

If you disagree with something in a performance review or an action taken by your employer, such a disciplinary action, you have the right to submit a response to be included in your personnel file. This does not imply any agreement on their part, but you and the employer may, obviously, see things differently. An employer should keep this as part of the records related to issue that prompted your response. Again, it is always a good idea to put everything in writing so that there’s a record of it

Finding the best civil rights attorney when you have a dispute with an employer

If you have been the victim of discrimination, retaliation, or harassment from an employer, you have rights. But it is important to act quickly because certain legal or regulatory deadlines may apply and many claims have a statute of limitations. Call the Civil Rights Litigation Group at 720-515-6165, or use our online contact form, to schedule your free consultation with us today. We’ll aggressively fight for you in court and make sure your rights are protected and you are treated fairly.

The civil rights Ruth Bader Ginsberg championed

Ruth Bader Ginsberg and her fight for civil rightsWhen Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg passed away last month, she left an impressive legal legacy in her fight for civil rights. Throughout her career — both as an attorney and a judge — she fought everyone to have equal protection under the law.

Civil rights and the Supreme court

Before becoming a member of the Supreme Court, she won five cases before them based on the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment — specifically the section that guarantees all citizens of the U.S “equal protection of the laws.” Early in her career, Ginsberg worked with the ACLU and led their campaign for gender equality, arguing more than 300 gender discrimination cases. Before her, the amendment was primarily used to argue for racial equality, but she successfully used it to fight for gender equality. She carefully chose cases that would highlight the inequality in how men and women were treated. She found success by taking on cases where men were the ones suffering discrimination.

In 1971, she argued in Reed v. Reed that an Idaho law stating that “males must be preferred to females” when determining the administrator of an estate was a direct violation of the 14th Amendment. The reasoning was that men were better at math. The Supreme Court unanimously agreed that the law was wrong.

In 1973, she won Frontiero v. Richardson, where her client was the husband of a female Air Force officer who was denied spousal death benefits because women were not considered the primary economic providers for their families.

Again, in 1975, in Weinberger v. Weisenfeld, she sued for a male client who had been denied Social Security survivor benefits because the agency assumed that men wouldn’t need them because they earned more money that their wives ever did. By arguing that gender discrimination hurts men as well as women, she was able to use the 14th Amendment to gain more equal rights for women. Her wins also discouraged state legislatures from writing any new laws that drew distinctions based on gender.

 

Using the 14th Amendment for other types of civil rights cases

After Ginsberg used the 14th Amendment to argue non-race-based discrimination cases, it opened the doors for other lawyers to use it civil rights cases for the LGBTQ community. In 1996, it was used in Romer v. Evans to overturn Colorado’s infamous Amendment 2 that prohibited LGBTQ citizens from claiming discrimination.

In 2015, it was used in the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges case that required all states to recognize same-sex marriages that were performed in other states.

 

Fighting for civil rights on the Supreme Court

Once she was appointed to the Supreme Court, Ginsberg continued her fight for gender equality and civil rights. In United States v. Virginia, she wrote the majority opinion that struck down the admissions policy at the Virginia Military Institute. Once again using the 14th Amendment, she argued that a state-run institution could not use gender as a basis for denying women the opportunity to attend the school.

In addition to gender equality cases, she also wrote opinions about prisoner rights. In Cutter v. Wilkinson, she argued in favor of prisoners’ religious rights. And before she was on the Supreme Court, she would have all her law clerks visit prisons so they better understood what was at stake in the cases they assisted her with.

While not all of her opinions, cases and writings are considered perfectly in line with promoting civil rights, the sum of her life’s work absolutely shows the impact she had in arguing that the law should treat everyone equally. Her actions both as an attorney and a judge will be felt for generations to come.

Additional posts about civil rights and discrimination

Sexist language and subtle discrimination

Dealing with disability discrimination in the workplace

Is there such a thing as pregnancy discrimination in the workplace?

Discrimination in Denver

Your Denver civil rights attorney

If you believe your civil rights have been violated, whether through police misconduct or discrimination, our civil rights attorneys can help you. Call the Civil Rights Litigation Group at 720-515-6165 or use our online contact form. Schedule your free consultation with a Denver discrimination attorney today.

 

Call us at 720-515-6165

Sexist language and subtle discrimination

woman isolated at office, employee rights, sexist languageMost people can recognize sexist language as it’s often quite obvious, such as a man referring to a female employee’s looks, saying suggestive things about her, or calling her pet names like “honey” or baby.” But more often than not, it’s the subtle ways people use sexist language that can reveal gender bias or discrimination tendencies.

And while we are specifically referring to women in this post, know that sexist language can apply to both men and transgendered individuals as well.

Sexist language in the White House

Many people would agree that Donald Trump is pretty misogynistic because he has said some very derogatory things about women, especially when it comes to their looks. But it’s the more subtle wording he uses that implies an even deeper bias. He’s never been one to shy away from verbally attacking anyone he perceives as a threat — whether a man or woman — but the ways he chooses to insult people can be revealing.

For instance, while he is famous for using the phrase “nasty woman,” there are many instances where he has also called men nasty. However, he tends to reserve use of the word “mean” almost exclusively when discussing women. The term often implies how one person treats another person, or that they are ” offensive, selfish, or unaccommodating.” (https://www.dictionary.com/browse/mean?s=t). That definition suggests that the women Trump calls mean make him feel offended or like he isn’t worthy — a feeling that could denote unmanliness if Trump were to use it to describe a man.

Here are two examples of Trump referring to Elizabeth Warren as mean:

“…You got so horrible to people and they said you know she’s, not dumb, but she’s just so damn mean, we can’t vote for her. She’s a mean one. She is mean.” (https://factba.se/transcript/donald-trump-speech-kag-rally-north-charleston-south-carolina-february-28-2020)

 

 

“… But people don’t like her. She’s a very mean person, and people don’t like her. People don’t want that. They like a person like me, that’s not mean….”
(https://factba.se/transcript/donald-trump-remarks-coronavirus-emergency-funding-march-6-2020)

By comparison, when Trump refers to a man as mean, it’s in a complimentary way:

“… We have a man who’s smart as hell, and he is tough, and he is mean and nasty, but he loves this state, and he’s only mean and nasty because he wants to defend you and me, and all of the horrible things that we all go through…”
(https://factba.se/transcript/donald-trump-speech-kag-rally-dallas-texas-october-17-2019)

 

Sexist language in the workplace

While the obvious sexist language and behaviors are frowned upon and generally avoided in the workplace, it’s the more subtle sexism that seems to be taking over. The problem is that many people still place men and women in certain gender roles and have specific expectations for them. “Communal language is mainly applied to women, and it invokes stereotypical female traits like being supportive, showing warmth, and helping the team. Agentic [authoritative] language is mainly applied to men and is more about getting the job done, taking charge, and being independent.” (https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20170329-the-hidden-sexism-in-workplace-language) So, while a man who is good at his job might be referred to as confident or a leader, a woman acting the same might be called bossy or abrasive — the implication being that it’s okay for men to act in an authoritative way but not women.

” A 2014 study for Fortune.com by Kieran Snyder examined 248 reviews from 180 people, (105 men and 75 women). The reviews came from 28 different companies, all in the tech sector, and included a range of organisational sizes. One word appeared 17 times in reviews of women, and never in any of the reviews of men: ‘abrasive’. Other words were disproportionately applied to women, including bossy, aggressive, strident, emotional and irrational. Aggressive did appear in two reviews of men, in the context of them being urged to be more aggressive. Reviews of women only ever used aggressive as a criticism. The gender of the person writing the review didn’t affect the results of the study.” (http://sacraparental.com/2016/05/14/everyday-misogyny-122-subtly-sexist-words-women/)

 

Sexist language hidden in compliments

Another subtle way that sexist language can appear is in compliments, but ones that are reserved specifically for one gender. For example, the words “modest,” “vivacious,” and “ladylike” are words that are almost exclusively used to describe women. If she’s modest and ladylike, then she doesn’t exert her sexuality. If she’s vivacious or bubbly, then she’s pleasant to be around and isn’t too abrasive. And while they may sound nice, they all imply that the woman isn’t a threat to the men around her and that she’s valued for how she treats people and acts, as opposed to how good of an employee she is. And while some people may see these subtle compliments as harmless, they can affect not only how women think about themselves in the workplace but how they are perceived by their superiors, which may limit their advancement potential.

 

Determining discrimination and sexism in the workplace

Here are some questions to consider whether you are being discriminated against:

  • Are there consistent incidents of sexist language being used against you and other women?
  • Is there a pattern of bias or discrimination against women consistently being passed over for promotions or job transfers?
  • Are complaints of sexism being ignored?
  • Have you or others recently reported wrongdoing, but are now being retaliated against? (Fewer work hours, demotion, pay cut, etc.)
  • Have you consistently done a good job, but are now receiving disciplinary notices?

These are just some of the ways you may be able to determine if there is discrimination and not a complete list of questions to ask.

____________________________

 

Your Denver Discrimination attorney

If you feel that you have been discriminated against in the workplace and believe that sexist language may have played a part, our civil rights attorneys can help you. If you or a loved one has suffered sexist discrimination violation in your place of employment, call the Civil Rights Litigation Group at 720-515-6165 or use our online contact form. Schedule your free consultation with a Denver discrimination attorney today.

 

Call us at 720-515-6165

Coronavirus and your employee rights

female employee wearing mask during coronavirus outbreakThe coronavirus pandemic our country is going through right now is unprecedented – people are sick, people are dying, and everyone is scared. Different states are battling the coronavirus in different ways as businesses struggle to survive. Here in Denver, as of March 24, the mayor has declared a state of local disaster, pursuant to C.R.S. § 24-33.5-701, et seq., and ordered all individuals to STAY AT HOME and shelter in place. This means that all non-essential businesses should close, unless they can operate with employees from home and/or with appropriate “social distancing.” In particular:

“All businesses with a facility in Denver, except Essential Businesses as defined below in Section 6, are required to cease all activities at facilities located within Denver, except Minimum Basic Operations, as defined in Section 6. For clarity, businesses may also continue operations consisting exclusively of employees or contractors performing activities at their own residences (e.g., working from home). All Essential Businesses are asked to remain open. To the greatest extent feasible, Essential Businesses shall comply with Social Distancing Requirements as defined in Section 6, below, including by maintaining six-foot social distancing for both employees and members of the public, including, but not limited to, when any customers are standing in line.”

March 22 CDPHE Order.[1]

If your business is one of those that will or can remain open, you may have some questions about your rights. First of all, you should understand that circumstances regarding the pandemic are changing as information becomes available and that this is new to everyone. Congress is expected to pass a bill to help both businesses and their employees, but new laws are likely to come in to effect.

Hopefully, you have a caring employer who is taking all the necessary precautions to keep their employees safe and to help you endure through this trying time. However, you may still have some questions and concerns about your rights and safety during this time.

 

Can my employer require me go to work during the coronavirus outbreak?

Unless you have a valid disability that qualifies under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), your employer can require you to come in to work. If you have health concerns, the best thing you can do is provide notice by talking to them and communicating regarding your concerns and your particular condition. However, if your business is one that was mandated to close and your employer remains open, and then fires you because you refuse to go to work, you may have a case for wrongful termination in violation of public policy. Before doing anything, you should speak to your employer and communicate that you have good cause not to work because of a medical vulnerability you have and that you fear for your safety. If you make a good faith effort to resolve the situation and your employer still fires you, you can apply for unemployment and look into a wrongful termination lawsuit.

 

Can my employer require me to work if I need to care for a sick family member?

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)[2] requires employers to provide eligible employees up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave per year to care for yourself or family members, with continued health benefits. Employers must also allow employees to return to the same job (or one that is equivalent). See the Department of Labor website for all the eligibility requirements and details.

 

Is my employer required to provide safety equipment against the coronavirus?

There are OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) laws that protect you. The general duty clause from OSHA requires your employer to provide “a place of employment which (is) free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.” Of course, your employer can’t eliminate the coronavirus from your workplace but it should make that environment as safe as reasonably possible. A lot of this will come down to them putting forth a “good faith effort” because safety equipment is in short supply at the moment. So, while a hospital is typically required to provide doctors and nurses with the masks, gowns, and even hazmat suits, a grocery store can get away with providing gloves and hand sanitizer if that is all they are able to get. However, in most cases, they shouldn’t prevent you from using additional safety equipment that you provide so long as it doesn’t interfere with your job.

 

Can I sue my employer if they require me to work and I get sick?

In most cases, probably not. Simply put, it is very difficult to prove how or where someone caught the coronavirus because, as of now, the virus hasn’t mutated very much. What that means is that most people who are sick in your area will have a very similar strain of the virus, so it’s next to impossible to trace. Remember, the burden of proof is on you to show that you not only caught the virus at work but that it was your employer’s fault.

However, if your employer knowingly puts you in a dangerous situation without required protection, or deliberately didn’t inform employees that they had been exposed, then you may have some recourse. Again, this entire situation is something the country and the courts haven’t dealt with much so there is a lot grey area to navigate. And the burden of proof will be still be on you.

 

I am Asian, Latino, African American, Caucasian, or a member of another race and my employer is treating me differently

Disparate treatment because of your race continues to be prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and is absolutely illegal. If you can prove that your employer has singled you out and treated you differently from the other employees —  such as cutting your hours or making you wear a mask when no one else is required to — because of your race you may have a case for discrimination.

 

If I test positive for the coronavirus, can my employer tell the other employees?

No, your employer is required to maintain your privacy regarding any medical information. However, they can (and should) notify other employees that they may have been exposed to the coronavirus, or that there may otherwise be a health hazard, without disclosing your name.[3]

 

[1] See https://www.denvergov.org/content/denvergov/en/mayors-office/newsroom/2020/city-s-covid-19-response-update-and-stay-at-home-order.html

[2] The FMLA applies to all public agencies, including local, State, and Federal employers, and local education agencies (schools); and private sector employers who employ 50 or more employees for at least 20 workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year – including joint employers and successors of covered employers. If you are working for business with fewer than 50 employees, they are not required to offer FMLA benefits.

[3] For further legal advice on this issue, consult an attorney knowledgeable in federal and/or state privacy matters. Civil rights attorneys, such as the author of this article, are not experts in privacy law.

Age discrimination facts and your rights

Man holding his head in his hands at his desk after experiencing age discrimination in Denver, CO

Getting older is fraught with different issues, such as health and finances. But one of the most difficult to deal with is the one form of discrimination nobody wants to talk about: ageism, or age discrimination.

Ageism and age discrimination

Discrimination against individuals based solely on their age is all but accepted and acceptable, especially in the workplace. Terms like geezer, senior citizen, and other derogatory terms along with unflattering media images enforce the negative stereotyping that comes with getting older.

Mark Zuckerberg once stated, “Younger people are smarter.” But is it true?

Stereotypes, learned ageism, and other factors have kept organizations like the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) working to protect the rights of individuals over the age of 40 from being ignored and violated. In Colorado, the unemployment rate is one of the country’s lowest, one third of the state’s population is over the age of 50. But it hasn’t stopped anyone from being subjected to ageism, even in a labor market that’s hiring.

Incorrect stereotypes are partly responsible. Misconceptions about older workers include:

  • They’re not up on new technology, including smartphones, can’t use it and are afraid of it
  • They’re not willing to learn and accept change
  • They can’t keep up with younger workers
  • They’re sickly, unhealthy and have lots of health problems.

But studies into modern aging show that these are incorrect. Workers over 50 are more engaged, have greater levels of experience and low turnover rates. There are other benefits to hiring older workers as opposed to someone who just graduated from high school or college as well, like reliability.

That still doesn’t help when you find yourself terminated or unemployed over 50 and unable to find another job.

Age discrimination in Colorado

More than 20% of all workers in the US are over the age of 55, more than 33 million people.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) makes it illegal for private employers and governmental agencies to discriminate against workers over the age of 40.

The Older Workers Protection Act of 1990 was passed as an amendment to the ADEA to protect benefits for older workers.

Colorado also has its own Anti-Discrimination Act prohibiting ageism and discrimination as well as other factors. However, federal anti-discrimination laws includes employers with 15 or more employees. Colorado’s civil rights statute includes all employers, regardless of size or number of employees.

While it most often is inflicted by supervisors or managers, age-related comments by any employees that create a hostile work environment can be considered age discrimination and/or harassment.

The AARP reports that 1 in 5 claims made to the EEOC are specifically for age discrimination. Individuals born between 1946 through 1964, the so called “baby boomers,” are the fastest growing group filing these claims.

The AARP also reports that nearly 66% of older adults have either experienced or witnessed ageism and discrimination in the workplace.

Lack of employment is one of the biggest indicators of age discrimination in Colorado and nationally: although it is still legal for an employer to ask your birth date or date of graduation, it’s not legal to use it in a hiring decision. Still, job seekers over 50 are routinely not hired, passed over for promotion, or outright laid off and/or fired.

Age discrimination can happen at any age

Ageism and discrimination isn’t always about someone over 50 — it can also happen to women of childbearing age.

Refusing to hire women who “are able to get pregnant” is not only age discrimination, it’s also a form of gender discrimination.  It’s also illegal to fire a female due to her pregnancy.

How can I fight back?

If your employer asks you to sign an ADEA waiver, speak to an attorney before you do.

You can fight against age discrimination, but it is a long, arduous fight. You can file an EEOC claim, but before you do, consider talking with a Denver, CO civil rights attorney who specializes in age discrimination.

Proving age discrimination can be difficult. The Civil Rights Litigation Group is dedicated to ensuring that every Colorado resident is protected from discrimination and other civil rights violations. Call today for your free consultation, or use our online contact form to schedule your appointment.

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