Civil rights in employment prohibit employment discrimination, and deprivations of constitutional and legal rights and benefits. Civil rights include the right to receive equal treatment, and be free from unfavorable treatment, in employment, based on legally protected traits and/or membership in a lawfully protected class.
Federal law and Colorado law protect employees and applicants from discrimination. The primary federal protections are enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission [EEOC] and the United States Departments of Justice and Labor. The Colorado Civil Rights Division [CCRD] enforces the Colorado discrimination protections.
Unlawful discrimination involves an employer treating an employee or applicant less favorably, meaning, denying the individual equal employment opportunity because of a protected trait or membership in a protected class.
Federal law prohibits employment discrimination because of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy, religion, age, or disability.
Harassment is unlawful discrimination when the conduct is based on a protected trait or class. An employer may be liable when the objectionable conduct is taken by supervisors, mangers, co-workers, or the employer’s clients or customers.
The law prohibits retaliation by employers. Retaliation is a form of discrimination. Unlawful retaliation involves an employer taking a materially adverse action against an employee, applicant, or former employee because the individual acted in opposition to employment discrimination or participated in a proceeding to investigate or enforce the anti-discrimination law.
Individuals have the right to enforce civil rights in employment.
State and local government employees may file employment discrimination and civil rights lawsuits based on a deprivation of constitutional rights. These actions may address the loss of property rights in employment, violations of due process of law, and deprivations of the freedom m of expression and association.
See Individuals have the right to enforce numerous federal employment discrimination laws. rights protections. For most employment protections, an individual must complete the available administrative process prior to filing a civil action in court. For example, an individual must file a timely charge of discrimination or retaliation with the EEOC and/or an appropriate state agency, such as the CCRD.
Following the EEOC’s completion of the investigation of the charge, the individual has the right to sue, to file a lawsuit in a timely manner.
For actions under the federal civil rights laws, the aggrieved individual may file suit in a United Sates District Court. The lawsuit may seek a jury trial. The available remedies depend on the law government the case, the size of the employer, and the specific claims and facts in issue.
In general, a prevailing party in a discrimination action may recover the following remedies: (1) the loss of wages and benefits; (2) compensatory damages for emotional distress and related injuries or losses; (3) punitive damages to address the employer’s willful or malicious violation of law; (4) an order to reinstate or hire an employee, or pay front pay in lieu of reinstatement; and (5) an award attorney fees, court costs, and expert witness fees.
Murray Law welcomes the opportunity to provide dedicated and experienced counsel and representation to individuals, employers, and associations.
This practice welcomes the opportunity to represent individuals seeking to enforce their civil rights in employment.