Being victimized at work may seem like a problem with no solution for people who feel ignored and helpless or fear losing their income. Under Colorado laws, employers that choose not to address workplace discrimination can be held just as accountable as those who perpetrate it. Whether the issue involves age, disability, gender, religion or other factors, anyone who has suffered discrimination on the job can seek protection or compensation, especially if a recent Colorado bill receives final approval.
Denver citizens should take note of a new anti-discrimination bill that a Colorado House committee has accepted for further review. The bill would reportedly enable a victim of discrimination at a small business to receive reimbursement for legal fees and a maximum of $50,000 in damages.
While current laws apparently grants these rights to workers of larger employers, victims in businesses with fewer than 15 employees could only be awarded back and front pay and have their jobs restored. One 21-year-old woman claims her sexual harassment suit was turned down by attorneys because the limited amount of possible damages was deemed unprofitable. The woman reportedly received $3,000 in back pay but no compensation to cover her legal fees.
Reports say the Colorado legal and business communities have objected to the bill, arguing that the cost of fighting a potentially meritless discrimination claim can be overwhelming. Amid concern that petty lawsuits will destroy enterprise, Democrat House Representative Joe Salazar noted that current laws allow employers to pursue damages from those filing meritless cases.
While economic preservation is likely a major concern for the Colorado government, businesses have to be held responsible for bullying or unfair treatment of employees. Discrimination at work may have serious psychological or financial consequences for the people involved. Employees who have faced discrimination or were wrongfully terminated should learn more about their rights in the workplace and how to legally confront harmful treatment.
Source: Denver Business Journal, "Colorado House panel gives initial OK to tougher anti-discrimination remedies," Ed Sealover, Feb. 15, 2013