Independent Contractors vs. Employees

1411400594One way employers have tried to get around employment laws to make people working for them sign “Independent Contractor Agreements.” That way, they don’t have to pay overtime, unemployment, or obey a lot of other rules. Unfortunately for them, the courts are wise to their games and look beyond what a worker is called by the employer. In fact, the Colorado Supreme Court published two cases this year examining when someone is an employee and when they are an independent contractor. Click below to find out how to tell the difference. Continue reading “Independent Contractors vs. Employees”

At Will Employment in Colorado

At-will employment means that either an employee or an employer can end their relationship at any time for any reason. In practice, it means that your employer can fire you at any time for any reason at all or even for no reason. It’s the default rule in every state except Montana. Still, just because it’s the default, doesn’t mean all fired employees have are out of luck. In Colorado, there are a lot of exceptions that limit when and why an employer can fire someone despite it being an at-will state. Continue reading “At Will Employment in Colorado”

Sexual Harassment Law in Colorado

1922772_origEverywhere I’ve looked this week, I’ve seen stories about sexual harassment. Still, sexual harassment law isn’t understood as well as it should be, so a lot of women think there’s nothing they can do about it. That’s why I’m writing this article. Hopefully it will help you understand the basics of sexual harassment law in Colorado and the US. Continue reading “Sexual Harassment Law in Colorado”

Debunking 3 Internet Legal Myths

The law’s complicated. It takes years to understand the ins and outs of just one field. Still, just because it’s hard to understand, doesn’t mean you should be fooled by all of the legal legends running around the internet. So, here’s my effort to debunk the top 3 legal myths you hear online.

Myth 1 – “If you complain about discrimination or harassment at work, they can just find some excuse to fire you.”
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Primer: The Kluwe Lawsuit

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Image by Paul L Dineen http://bit.ly/1kO7uOW

Over the weekend, an interesting employment law story boiled over. Chris Kluwe is going to sue the Minnesota Vikings for discrimination. The story has been pretty well covered, but I’m going to add my thoughts to the discussion.

Background

Minnesota has a long history of protecting gay rights.  In fact, the state passed the US’s first law banning discrimination against transgender individuals way back in 1993 when amended its Human Rights Act to cover homosexuals and trans people.

Chris Kluwe used to be the punter for the Minnesota Vikings. He’s never been shy about being a different sort of cat. (here he is Rick Rolling commissioner Goodell on Reddit).  He’s also been an outspoken supporter of gay rights. Continue reading “Primer: The Kluwe Lawsuit”

Employment Law: Retaliation

Image by DVIDSHUB bit.ly/1sk4UYf
Image by DVIDSHUB bit.ly/1sk4UYf

Most people suffering harassment or discrimination at work are scared of reporting it. They think their employer will just fire them if they rock the boat. This is why a lot of employers get away with illegal employment practices: they think no one will stand up to them. Employers aren’t allowed to retaliate against you like that though. Specifically, they can’t take an adverse action against a covered individual because he or she engaged in a protected activity. Read on to learn about what that means in practice.

Continue reading “Employment Law: Retaliation”

Employment Law: Disability Discrimination

Image from Scott Akerman. httpbit.ly/1kK5jeU
Image from Scott Akerman. httpbit.ly/1kK5jeU

The Americans with Disabilities Act prevents employers from discriminating against their employees because they have a disability.  Sounds simple right? Well, there’s a little more to it than that. This article outlines the basics of the law of disability discrimination.

Who is Disabled?

Someone is disabled if they have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, someone who has a record of having such an impairment, or someone who is regarded as having one. Major life activities include caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working. An impairment to a major bodily function also counts as an impairment to a major life activity. Continue reading “Employment Law: Disability Discrimination”

Update: Disability Discrimination

Well, that didn’t take long. As soon as I write an article about disability discrimination, the law changes. The EEOC issued guidance today making it clear that pregnancy discrimination is illegal. This means that employers can’t discriminate against you because you are pregnant. If they put workers with injured backs on light duty, they have to put pregnant employees on light duty too.

This is a good step towards protecting the rights of pregnant employees, and it also makes clear that temporary impairments (like those related to pregnancy) are disabilities under the ADA.