Employment laws at both the federal and state level protect employee's rights throughout their employment. Here is some useful information for employees in Colorado.
Employers may not use or mention discriminatory factors such as age, sex or race in job advertisements, interviews or final hiring decisions. Other off-limits interview topics include:
- Your marital status
- Whether you have or plan to have children
- Your place of birth
Colorado Wage Laws
The state's wage laws provide better protection for most employees than the federal Fair Labor Standards Act does, so employers must follow state laws in most cases. These laws provide for annual cost-of-living adjustments to the minimum wage and define overtime as working more than 12 hours in one day or 40 hours per week.
Safe Work Environment
Federal and state laws require work environments be free from known safety hazards. If you point out unsafe conditions, your employer may not retaliate by, for example, firing or demoting you.
Workers' Compensation for On-the-Job Injuries
Workers' compensation is a mandatory insurance that all companies with even one employee (with rare exceptions) must carry on their workers. It pays medical bills and other injury-related expenses, as well as disability, if you are hurt at work. Find out more about on-the-job injury leave information.
Your Right to Time Off
You have the right to time off without jeopardizing your job in certain situations:
- Federal Family Medical Leave Act—Most employees in companies with at least 50 employees may take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to take care of their own or a family member's serious illness.
- State leave laws—You may also have the right to limited time off for adopting a child, after a domestic abuse incident and to attend your children's school meetings.
- Voting—The state allows up to two hours off work to vote, with a few limitations.
You are entitled to be free from unwanted and persistent physical or verbal behavior directed at you because of discriminatory factors such as sex (either sexual or non-sexual in nature), age or disability. When it creates a hostile work environment, this behavior is called harassment and is illegal.
Leaving Your Job
Colorado is an “employment-at-will” state, meaning that you or your employer may end your employment at any time for almost any reason, unless you have a contract. In general, employers are limited to non-discriminatory reasons and may not fire you for things such as as age, religion or sexual orientation.
You are legally entitled to your final paycheck, no matter how you leave, and it must include any unused accrued vacation days.
You may be eligible for certain benefits even after leaving your job:
- Unemployment benefits—If your job loss was not your fault, or if you quit with good cause, you may be entitled to cash payments for a specified period of time.
- COBRA—This federal law covers most employees in companies with at least 20 workers. It allows you to keep your group medical insurance for up to 18 months.
Talk with an Employment Lawyer
It's not always clear whether federal or state laws apply to your situation. If you have a specific question, a Colorado employment lawyer can help.