Employment Discrimination

Employment Discrimination FAQ

Below are some frequently asked questions about employment discrimination claims. Additional information on this topic can be viewed by accessing the Employment Discrimination summary under the “Practice Areas” tab.

What is Employment Discrimination?

Employment Discrimination occurs when an employer treats an employee unfavorably based upon the employee’s race, sex, pregnant status, disability, age, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, or marriage to a co-worker.

Under What Circumstances May I Take Leave From My Job?

FMLA allows certain employees to take unpaid leave for identified family and medical purposes with job protection and continued group health insurance coverage. FMLA provides that eligible employees are entitled to twelve workweeks of leave within a twelve month period for the birth and care of a newborn within one year of the child’s birth, the care of a newly adopted or fostered child within one year of the child’s placement, and the care of a spouse, parent, or child with a serious illness. An employee may also take this time if the employee develops a serious health condition that renders him/her unable to perform essential employment duties. Employees may also be entitled to take military caregiver leave for a period of twenty-six workweeks in one year if their spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin is a service member who develops a serious illness or injury.

What Protections Exist for Disabled Workers?

The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) and Colorado law prevent discrimination against individuals with physical and mental disabilities in a number of areas, including employment. These laws apply to private employers, local and state government agencies, employment agencies, and labor organizations and require them to make reasonable accommodations for qualified employees.

What Protections Exist for Pregnant Workers?

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) is an amendment to the Civil Rights Act that prohibits workplace discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, and related conditions. The courts have held that these types of discrimination constitute sex discrimination and are illegal. The PDA applies to private employers with fifteen or more employees, employment agencies, labor organizations, and local, state, and federal government entities.

What Protections Exist for Workers Over Forty?

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects employees and applicants who are forty or older from age-based employer discrimination in the workplace. The ADEA applies to private employers with twenty or more employees, employment agencies, labor organizations, and local, state, and federal government entities.

What is Retaliation?

It is unlawful for employers to retaliate against job applicants and employees because they have filed a charge of discrimination, complained to their employer about workplace discrimination, or participated in an investigation, lawsuit, or other employment discrimination proceeding. The law protects employees from retaliation in all aspects of employment. For example, an employer may not fire (“wrongfully discharge”), refuse to promote, demote, or harass an employee or applicant for one of the above reasons.

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