Employment law is vast and always changing, and whether your employer pinched you in an inappropriate place or you just discovered that your boss has neglected paying you for overtime hours, it’s important to hire a local, Denver, Colorado employment lawyer who can represent your case and, using in-depth knowledge and in-court experience, fight for a beneficial and just resolution.
Whatever your employment-related legal case (more on this below), you should never make the mistake of hiring the attorney who helped a friend’s divorce, the attorney who closed your real estate purchase, or the prosecution attorney who knows a little about harassment in the workplace. Instead, make sure you get a lawyer who specializes in employment law and who can work the landscape to your advantage.
If you have an employment-related legal issue, get the leading attorney in the Denver area by calling the Civil Rights Litigation Group. You can reach us at (720) 515-6165 or filling in a form here.
What to expect when hiring an employment lawyer for your case
In civil cases in Colorado, there is this saying that, “The only person who wins in a civil case is the lawyer.” This saying refers to the often exhausting legal processes related to civil law as well as employment law. By filing a lawsuit or a complaint against your employer, you’ll be digging dirt up on them and the employer will be doing the same to you; sometimes, clients report that the stress of the legal processes disrupts their sleep and concentration.
Also, it’s important to remember that most employment law cases are not “open and closed.” Even if you believe you have an airtight case, your employer may surprise you with tons of evidence that could very well disrupt the chances of your lawsuit.
With these factors in mind, it’s always a good idea to take a deep breath and ask yourself, “Is it really worth it?” Filing a lawsuit might not be worth it, but then again, it could be. By speaking with an experienced employment lawyer, you can get a better idea of your case, the strength of your evidence, and other factors. By hiring an attorney, you not only receive expert guidance and counsel through the legal processes, but you always get a reality check at every stage of the process.
When should you call a Denver employment lawyer?
Whether you decide to call an employment lawyer is solely up to you, and yet, it can be difficult to know if your employment issue constitutes a violation of federal labor laws. For instance, were you denied that promotion because of a lack of experience or because you are part of a certain religion, sexual orientation, national origin, or another “group?”
At the Civil Rights Litigation Group in Denver CO, we handle any employment-related case related to federal laws. In general, this includes:
Knowing the difference between a discriminatory action and a violation of federal laws can be difficult; nevertheless, you may want to contact a Denver employment lawyer in the following situations:
- You were harassed, discriminated against, or retaliated against by your employer
- You were terminated or fired from employment and the termination was illegal
- You are being forced to sign an agreement that waives some rights you are entitled to
- Your employer has violated state or federal laws created to protect employees
- You employer has not given you benefits detailed in your employment contract
How to prepare a first meeting with your attorney
So, you believe that you have an employment law issue; the next step may be to contact a local employment lawyer who will help you decide if your case is worth pursuing. And once you have the consultation scheduled, it’s important to do a little preparation to make the most out of the meeting. This consultation is an opportunity to make sure your attorney has all the facts and other information. Some important tips to keep in mind when meeting your attorney include:
- Make sure to bring good, clean copies of any relevant documents
- Bring a fact chronology that outlines the factual timeline of the case
- Dress appropriately (remember, you want to try and convince the attorney that you’re serious about the case)
As always, make sure to set realistic expectations. Although you may be fired up about a work-related issue, the attorney may see something else in your case, such as a lack of evidence. In some situations, the attorney may turn down your case, and if this happens to you, remember that you need the right attorney, which doesn’t necessarily mean the first attorney who looks over your case.
Don’t hesitate and call the top Denver employment lawyer
There are many situations when you may need to call a Denver employment lawyer. With years of experience representing countless individuals who’ve had their rights violated, we at the Civil Rights Litigation can help you too. From carefully listening to your case to helping acquire the necessary evidence to pursue the defendant in Colorado federal courts, an experienced attorney will be one of the best tools you have for seeking justice and recovering damages. For a free, no-obligation consultation with our Denver law firm, call us today at (720) 515-6165.
When informing the authorities or others regarding your employer’s illicit or illegal activity, you have certain protections under Federal and Colorado state laws. At the Civil Rights Litigation Group, we understand that being a whistleblower is no easy task, and although you have rights that protect against retaliation, your employer may still try to retaliate against you.
Whether your issue involves a layoff, changes in work schedules, “blacklisting,” cuts in hours, and more, you can call Denver CO civil rights and whistleblower attorney Raymond K. Bryant today. We offer free consultations, and, if we decide to take your case, we’ll employ a vast network of resources, diligent investigation, and vigorous representation to make sure that your rights are protected.
In the meantime, you can learn more about whether or not you qualify as a whistleblower below.
Federal whistleblower laws and you
If you feel that an employer is retaliating against you for whistleblowing, the federal agency known as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) may be on your side. Whistleblowing is an employee right, and OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program enforces the whistleblower provisions of more than twenty whistleblower statutes. These statutes protect employees who report violations of the law regarding the following:
- Workplace safety and health
- Commercial motor carrier
- Consumer product
- Financial reform
- Food safety
- Health insurance reform
- Motor vehicle safety
- Public transportation
Regarding the OSHA, Section 11(c) of the OSH Act prohibits employers from discriminating against their employees for exercising their rights (detailed under the OSH Act). The rights detailed under this Act include, but are not limited to, worker protections when participating in an inspection or talking to an inspector, seeking access to employer exposure and injury records, reporting an injury, and raising a safety or health complaint with the employer.
It is also important to note that whistleblowers are protected under the federal False Claims Act, and whistleblowers can report securities fraud (SEC and CFTC) and illegal actions involving the IRS.
Federal employers, on the other hand, can refer to the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989. This Act only protects federal employees who report agency misconduct, such as illegal practices, gross mismanagement, abuse of authority, or practices that endanger public health.
Whistleblowing and retaliation
Naturally, some employers who willfully and intentionally engage in misconduct won’t be too happy when an employee reports the illegal activity. As such, some employers may wish to retaliate against whistleblowers through some of the following methods:
- Denying overtime or promotion
- Denial of benefits
- Making threats, intimidation, or harassment
- Reducing pay
- Reassignment to a less desirable position
Additionally, it’s important to note that, when reporting to OSHA, workers who have been retaliated or discriminated against must file a complaint within 30 days of the alleged adverse action. Some types of complaints, such as those that apply to the Energy Reorganization Act or the Federal Railroad Safety Act, allow up to 180 days to file.
OSHA enforces many of the retaliation laws, but because Colorado is a federal-OSHA, retaliation protections apply to federal employees as well as private sector employees where the employer has more than 10 employees.
Do you qualify as a whistleblower?
So, now that you know some of the basic protections regarding whistleblowers in Colorado, the question remains, “Do you qualify as a whistleblower?”
Fortunately, the answer is quite broad, as, depending on the illegal activity being reported, a whistleblower can be a public or private employee, a contractor or a subcontractor, or even a non-employee who can document fraud against Colorado or local governments. Regardless of the illegal activity or fraud that you are reporting, there are some general guidelines that show who has a better opportunity for success when whistleblowing. These guidelines include:
- The whistleblower has actual knowledge of the illegal act, not just hearsay or suspicion
- The whistleblower can provide hard evidence of the illegal activity, such as emails or internal documents, among others
- The evidence is specific and details the “who, what, when, and where”
- The whistleblower’s information must be original; it cannot come from a publicly disclosed source
Contact the Civil Rights Litigation Group today
If you are unsure about whistleblowing, you feel that you need strong legal backing on your side, or you are experiencing retaliation for exercising your rights, then don’t hesitate a second longer and call Denver CO employee rights attorney Raymond K. Bryant at the Civil Rights Litigation Group. By calling us for a free, no-obligation consultation, we will carefully and compassionately (and confidentially) listen to your case and determine whether you have a whistleblower case. If so, we will vigorously and relentlessly pursue your claims to the fullest extent of the law.
Every worker in Colorado, and throughout the United States, deserves to paid for the work that he/she conducted. When workers are required (or voluntarily) to work overtime, they also deserve the necessary overtime pay. Unfortunately, there have been many cases right here in Denver where employers didn’t pay their employees’ the correct wages as well as overtime wages, resulting in unpaid overtime.
In Colorado, state and federal laws determine how much (and when) an employee must be paid. However, if your employer hasn’t paid the correct wages or overtime wages, you need to contact the leading Denver unpaid wages attorney as soon as possible. At the Civil Rights Litigation Group, we’re experienced employee rights and trial attorneys, and we boast the know-how and litigation strategies to fight against workplace injustices. Don’t ignore unpaid overtime, and call attorney Raymond K. Bryant at (720) 515-6165.
In the meantime, you can learn more about unpaid overtime below.
Unpaid overtime and wages
For every hour that an employee works, he/she is rightfully owed at least the minimum wage. In Colorado, that minimum wage is $9.30 per hour. Although the federal minimum wage is $7.25, any employee working in Colorado is owed the state minimum wage. In cases where the city or county minimum wage is higher than the state minimum wage, employees are owed the higher amount. If your employer has underpaid you, such as by paying the federal minimum wage, you may have an unpaid wage claim.
Unpaid wage claims do occur, but the most common type of employee wage violation is unpaid overtime. In short, employees in Colorado are entitled to overtime if they work more than 40 hours a week, more than 12 hours a day, or more than 12 consecutive hours. For overtime hours, employers must pay their employees time-and-a-half, which equates to an extra 50% of your hourly rate on top of your regular pay. This means that if you’re paid $10/hr, your overtime pay is $15/hr.
If your employer has failed to pay you adequate overtime hours, the unpaid overtime equals the difference between what you should have been paid and what you were paid.
Exemptions to overtime pay
Not all employees are entitled to overtime pay. Hourly, non-exempt employees have a legal right to overtime, but exempt employees might not be able to claim overtime. The most common examples include outside salespeople as well as white-collar employees who conduct managerial or high-level administrative work. Other exempt employees include:
- Salespersons, parts-persons, and mechanics employed by automobile, truck, or farm implement (retail) dealers
- Salespersons employed by trailer, aircraft, and boat (retail) dealers
- Sales employees of retail or service industries paid on a commission basis
- Employees of the ski industry performing duties directly related to ski area operations for skiing or snowboarding
- Employees of the medical transportation industry who are scheduled to work 24-hour shifts
Penalties for unpaid overtime and wages
If your employer has failed to pay your overtime wages, your employer may be susceptible to certain penalties under federal or Colorado law. These penalties are typically added to the wage difference that the employer owes his/her employee. For instance, federal laws state that employees have the right to ask for liquidated damages regarding overtime wage violations. These liquidated damages are designed to cover financial losses, such as bounced checks and late charges.
Colorado law also provides when the employee’s final paycheck doesn’t arrive on time or include everything that the employee is owed. For instance, if your final paycheck doesn’t include the overtime wages, you may be entitled to 125% of the unpaid wages for the first $7,500 owed and 50% of the unpaid wages for any amount owed over $7,500.
How to file a wage claim or lawsuit
When you’re working overtime, you deserve every penny that you’re owed by your employer. As such, if your employer is shorting your paycheck by avoiding legally owed overtime wages, then you need to contact a Denver employee rights attorney as soon as possible. With the guidance and counsel of your attorney, you can file a complaint about unpaid overtime with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE); you can also file a lawsuit in court.
Contact the wage and hour law attorneys at the Civil Rights Litigation Group
It’s important to acquire expert legal help when filing a complaint with the CDLE or filing a lawsuit in court. At the Civil Rights Litigation Group in Denver, CO, we have helped numerous individuals with their wage and unpaid overtime claims, and we boast the resources and know-how to help you too.
If your employer hasn’t paid you the amount that you’re owed, then call Denver attorney Raymond Bryant at the Civil Rights Litigation Group today! Call 720-515-6165.
Colorado, like many states, has comprehensive laws and regulations designed to protect employees from malicious employment practices, such as undercutting employee wages or foregoing overtime payments to employees. Although the vast majority of employees in Colorado receive at least minimum wage as well as “time and a half” overtime pay, there are certain types of employees who are exempt from overtime, minimum wage laws, or both. If you’re not receiving appropriate overtime wages or minimum wages, then you need to first make sure that you haven’t been misclassified as an exempt employee.
If you are not exempt, then you are owed appropriate overtime as well as minimum wage. As Denver CO employee rights attorneys, we at the Civil Rights Litigation Group aim to fully protect employees from violations of overtime and wage laws, and we’ll diligently and expertly represent your claims in Colorado civil courts. Remember that misclassified, non-exempt employees may be entitled to thousands of dollars in unpaid overtime and other wages.
For victims of wage or overtime violations, make sure to call our Denver law office today for a confidential, free consultation. In the meantime, you can learn more about employee exemptions in Colorado by reading below.
Are you an exempt or non-exempt employee?
The federal law regarding wage and overtime regulations for employees is the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Colorado also has several similar laws. To understand whether you’re an exempt or non-exempt employee, it’s important to look at the FLSA as well as Colorado’s laws.
The federal law, FLSA, applies to most employers in Colorado who have annual sales or revenue of over $500,000. At the same time, both large and small businesses in Colorado must comply with Colorado state laws and regulations, such as the Colorado Minimum Wage Order. Ordinarily, overtime is defined as working over 40 hours in a work week. Under Colorado laws, overtime is also defined as working more than 12 hours in a day or a shift. Additionally, the law states that overtime pay must be one and a half times the employee’s regular rate of pay.
Overtime and exemptions from the Colorado wage order
The overtime and minimum wage laws defined above only apply to non-exempt employees. Section 5 of Colorado’s Wage Order sets the legal exemptions for certain occupations and professions. These include administrative, executive/supervisor, professional, outside sales employees, and elected officials and their staff. Other exemptions include:
- Casual babysitters
- Domestic employees employed by households or family members to perform the following duties:
- Duties in private residences
- Property managers
- Interstate drivers
- Driver helpers
- Loaders or mechanics of motor carriers
- Taxi drivers
- Bona fide volunteers
- Students employed by sororities, fraternities, college clubs, or dormitories
- Students employed by work experience study programs
- Employees working in laundries of charitable institutions which pay no wages to workers and inmates
- Patient workers who work in institutional laundries
Exemptions from overtime
Section 6 of the Wage Order explains various professions and occupations that are exempt from the Colorado overtime laws. Exemptions from all or part of the overtime requirement may include commission sales, the ski industry, and medical transportation. These exemptions are explained below:
Commission sales exemptions — Employees who receive commissions are exempt from overtime as long as 50% (or more) of their total earnings in a pay period are derived from commission sales. Their rate of pay must also be at least one and a half times greater than the minimum wage.
Ski industry exemptions — Employees who work in ski area operations for downhill skiing or snowboarding are exempt from the overtime requirements. This includes employees who provide food and beverage services at on-mountain locations.
Medical transportation exemptions — Employees of medical transportation operations who work 24-hour shifts are exempt from the 12-hour overtime regulation as long as they receive overtime for working more than 40 hours in a week.
Consequences for misclassified exempt employees
Assuming a worker is exempt from overtime, even though that employee is not exempt, can present significant consequences for the employer. According to federal laws, if an employer doesn’t pay a non-exempt employee legal overtime wages, then that employer may be liable for the underpayment, “liquidated damages” in an equal amount, and even the employee’s attorney fees. Also, it’s important to note that in cases of good faith, where the employer made an honest mistake, some courts will rule that ignorance of exemption requirements is not an excuse.
Also, the employer can get into more trouble, increasing his/her liability, by engaging in any form of retaliation against an employee who claimed overtime.
Call the Civil Rights Litigation Group to protect your overtime rights
As the leading civil rights and employee rights attorney in the Denver, CO, area, attorney Raymond K. Bryant understands the full scope of Colorado and federal employment laws. In addition to helping you know whether or not you were exempt, the Civil Rights Litigation Group will work with you, one-on-one, with the goal of holding responsible individuals accountable for their actions (if they are liable, that is).
To speak with attorney Bryant regarding your case, call our Denver law office today at 720-515-6165 for a free, no-obligation consultation.
In Denver, and throughout Colorado, going to prison means forfeiting several rights. However, this doesn’t mean that Colorado inmates lacks basic human and Constitutional Rights. For instance, the U.S. Constitution protects prisoners from sexual abuse, cruel and unusual punishments, discrimination, and other types of abuse. The Constitution also states that prisoners have the right to complain about prison conditions, to access necessary medical and mental health care, and to ask for reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Unfortunately, Denver inmates have been subject to abuse and rights violations before, and it’s essential to have a competent and experienced Denver civil rights attorney to stand by their side and hold responsible individuals accountable for their actions. If you or a loved one was a victim of rights violations in Colorado prisons or jails, call the Civil Rights Litigation Group today at 720-515-6165.
What rights do Colorado inmates have?
Historically speaking, prisoners were sometimes treated with as little dignity as possible, whereas some prisons turned a blind eye to abuse and extreme violence, sexual abuse and rape, forced labor, and so on. Even today, horror stories will occasionally come out of our nation’s prisons, illustrating institutionalized abuse and rights violations. The U.S. Constitution seeks to provide a humane way of imprisonment, and most prisoner’s rights laws relate to fundamental human rights and civil liberties.
Below, we’ve listed some of the most common Constitutional Rights that Denver inmates have:
Cruel and unusual punishment — The Eighth Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishment, but the Amendment doesn’t specify exactly what cruel and unusual punishment entails. Generally, a cruel or unusual punishment involves abuse or torture, or anything violating a person’s dignity within discretion of the court.
Sexual harassment and abuse — All Colorado inmates have the right to be free from sexual abuse and harassment from both prison personnel and inmates.
Voice complaints about prison conditions — All prisoners have the right complain about prison conditions and voice their concerns to courts/
Disabled Prisoners — Disabled prisoners are entitled to reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
Discrimination — Inmates have the right to be free of discrimination while imprisoned.
First Amendment Rights — Inmates can exercise their First Amendment right, such as freedom of speech and religion.
Medical and Mental Health Attention — When necessary, Colorado inmates are entitled to adequate medical care and mental health treatment.
What rights do Colorado inmates lose?
Although prisoners are entitled to a certain degree of Constitutional Rights, they still have strict limitations. Even prisoners’ First Amendment rights, and the exercise of those rights, cannot interfere with their status as inmates. Furthermore, inmates don’t typically have a right to privacy, and they can be subject to reasonable searches and seizures. Prisoners do retain Due Process rights, and prison staff cannot deliberately deprive them of their property; however, this doesn’t apply to contraband. Furthermore, prisoners are not often subject to minimum wage laws.
What to do if your inmate rights are violated
If you or a loved one is in prison and has suffered Constitutional Rights violations, it’s essential to speak with an experienced and knowledgeable civil rights attorney as soon as possible. Due to the “us vs. them” mentality between prison personnel and inmates in some Colorado prisons, these cases need the utmost care, professionalism, and timeliness. If facing abuse, a prisoner can bring up a lawsuit to protect their rights, obtain compensation for their injuries, and seek justice for the abuse and rights violations.
Contact the Civil Rights Litigation Group today
At the Civil Rights Litigation Group, we’ve remained diligent advocates for inmates’ rights for years. We take claims of prisoner abuse very seriously, and we provide vigorous and relentless representation for our clients. To speak with attorney Raymond K. Bryant about your case, call the Civil Rights Litigation Group in Denver today at (720) 515-6165.