The HR Specialist: Colorado Employment Law

No one likes a layoff, especially the affected employees—who may look for a reason to sue. Smart employers can stop many baseless lawsuits by using objective, neutral criteria to select which workers will lose their jobs. That’s what happened in the following case …

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Employers sometimes forget that just because a condition has a name and can be serious, it doesn’t always mean it’s a disability. In one recent case, an admitted alcoholic who had undergone inpatient treatment was deemed not to be disabled under the ADA and therefore not entitled to reasonable accommodations …

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Beginning Jan. 1, Colorado State University will offer domestic-partner benefits to eligible employees.

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Gov. Bill Ritter recently signed into law the 2008 Professional Employer Organizations Modernization Act, which promises greater security for small businesses that rely on PEOs to provide outsourced HR management, employee benefits, payroll and workers’ compensation services …

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To sue for discrimination, employees must prove the employer did something that amounted to an adverse employment action—a firing, demotion or some other act that substantially affected the terms and conditions of employment. Do sexist comments that undermine a female employee’s authority constitute an adverse employment action? …

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It sometimes feels ominous when an employee accuses the company or a supervisor of discrimination and takes a complaint to the EEOC or some other agency. But those cases often reach settlement before they get out of hand. Then everyone has to get along, especially if the settlement includes reinstating the employee. HR should take the lead in making sure a potentially awkward situation works smoothly.

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Under the ADA, employees who aren’t actually disabled can nonetheless sue employers if the employers erroneously perceive them to be disabled. But there’s good news on this arcane ADA front …

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Employees who file discrimination complaints are protected from retaliation. That doesn’t mean they’re immune from being punished if they break rules. Employers can and should take appropriate disciplinary action against them. The key is a careful and deliberate approach, devoid of emotion …

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Government employees who want to sue because they believe their right to due process has been denied must prove they belong to an identifiable class, such as one based on race or sex. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled they cannot simply claim they were singled out by their government employer for poor treatment …

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A report released in September by U.S. Inspector General Earl Devaney revealed a “culture of substance abuse and promiscuity” at the Royalty in Kind (RIK) division of the federal Minerals Management Service in Lakewood …

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