When it comes to lawsuits against employers for discrimination in Colorado, not every allegation of employment discrimination by an employee is valid. However, Colorado employers sometimes are not clear as to what actions are allowable, how to prevent discrimination from occurring, or how to defend against EEOC discrimination charges.
68% of Colorado employers that do not have internal legal counsel, fail to address the claims set forth in the EEOC charge. Out of those, 52% do not understand the defense structure and balancing test used to decide whether workplace discrimination cases have taken place. Why is this?
The basic reasons why most employers fail is because they simply rely on HR personnel to craft the position statement; Not understanding what are valid non-discriminatory reasons; not having documentation and internal policies and controls.
Employers can at risk when defending against employment and workplace discrimination lawsuits in Colorado. These risks can be minimized if you can show that you have a legitimate business reason for the alleged discriminatory action.
For example, when your customer base has significantly decreased, laying an employee off can be a valid reason.
Defending lawsuits against employers for discrimination in Colorado: Colorado Supreme Court determined that it is not a violation of Colorado’s “lawful activities” statute for an employer to terminate an employee who tests positive for marijuana, even when the employee claims his use was allowed under Colorado law and off duty.
Basic Colorado Employment Discrimination Law
Employers are not allowed to discriminate in employment based upon any of the following factors
Marriage to a Co-Worker (subject to specific circumstances)
Types of Workplace Discrimination Cases (above) and Highlights for Colorado Employers
The following are but two employment discrimination cases showing employers that the courts are well involved.
Village Freeport v. Barrella – Second Circuit held discrimination based on ethnicity may also constitute race discrimination. (February 16, 2016) .
Robles v. Agre Services, Inc. – Eastern District of California held that foreman’s gunshot in direction of Mexican workers did not create national origin claim. (January 27, 2016).
To Dos for Defending Employment Discrimination Lawsuits from the EEOC
Having internal plans for upward mobility. Some employers have set plans for upward mobility. However, the key is to make it available to all employees that qualify for promotions into available positions.
There could be educational requirements for higher-level positions. The key here when defending against discrimination lawsuits is to ensure that jobs are available to everyone and that your company is not charged with violating workers’ rights, or wrongful termination by not making those opportunities available to them.
Keep Sound Internal Employment Discrimination Policies: Defending against the various types of workplace discrimination lawsuits against employers in Colorado also means having internal training and policies for your supervisors and management personnel. Employers can be at a disadvantage when an employee has a legitimate discriminatory complaint, but the supervisor handles it inappropriately.
Whether the charge is sexual discrimination, national origin discrimination, racial discrimination or another form of discrimination, employers can also create a sound defense to discrimination when they can show that the employee disregarded policy.
Maintain Adequate Employee Records: Often, Colorado employers are successful in defending against employment discrimination lawsuits when they have detailed employee records that show negative behavior, warnings, etc. A strong defense to the EEOC charge could be that as an employer, your choice to terminate the employee was due to continuously being late, not following procedures, or some other non-discriminatory reason.
- A solid defense against workplace discrimination lawsuits starts with your documentation;
- Always keep your files up to date.
- To overcome the charge you must have a non-discriminatory reason for the alleged EEOC charge.
EEOC Tips for Colorado Companies Defending Lawsuits Against Employers for Discrimination
When an employee files a discrimination lawsuit charge against you as the employer, you must respond to the EEOC charge with a valid, non-discriminatory reason for the adverse action. There are various valid reasons when companies are defending against lawsuits against employers for discrimination. The ones mentioned above are simply basic common approaches. See information about age discrimination. and types of discrimination damages.
The initial response to an EEOC charge will be critical for any future litigation. Having an experienced defense lawyer can minimize the impact of costly mistakes. When you offer a reason for the adverse action, the legal burden then shifts to the employee to show that your stated reason was a pretext for discrimination.
- This is usually the step that employees have a hard time proving.
- Employment discrimination can be very complex. Employers should not take allegations lightly.
Notes for Federal Contractor Employers
Executive Order 11246 was amended to prohibit federal contractors from discriminating based on sexual orientation. EEOC reports have been updated for implementation by September 30, 2017.
Our Colorado Employment Discrimination Law Firm For Immediate Help.