The following outline of laws governing employment in Colorado is provided as a courtesy for visitors to this site. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on as such. We hope it is nonetheless helpful to you.
Employment at Will. The general rule in Colorado, "employment at will," is that employers may terminate an employee for any reason, so long as it is not in violation of local, state, or federal law. Many of the laws in Colorado provide broader protection for employees than those at the federal level.
Colorado Anti-discrimination Act
In Colorado, it is a discriminatory or unfair employment practice to refuse to hire or promote, to demote, discharge, harass or make compensation decisions on the basis of disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religion, age, national origin or ancestry.
Employees with a disability are entitled to a reasonable accommodation necessary to perform the essential functions of the position. An accommodation is not reasonable if it would result in undue hardship on the employer’s business. Once an employee requests an accommodation, the employer must engage in an interactive process with the employee to determine whether there is an accommodation that would enable the employee to continue performing the essential functions of their position.
Colorado CROWN Act
To ensure respect for natural hair styles, race discrimination includes actions on the basis of hair texture, hair type, or a protective hairstyle commonly or historically associated with race, such as braids, locs, twists, tight coils or curls, cornrows, Bantu knots, Afros, or headwraps.
Employers are prohibited from retaliating against any employee who opposes a discriminatory practice or who participates in a discrimination investigation, proceeding or hearing.
Colorado Pregnant Workers Fairness Act
Employees with a health condition related to pregnancy or physical recovery from childbirth are entitled to a reasonable accommodation necessary to perform the essential functions of the job, unless such accommodation causes an undue hardship on the employer. Such accommodations may include more frequent or longer breaks; more frequent restroom, food and water breaks; modification of seating; limitations on lifting; temporary transfer to a less strenuous or hazardous position if available, among others. Upon receipt of such a request, employers are required to engage in a timely, good-faith interactive process to agree on a reasonable accommodation, and may not retaliate against an employee for making the request.
Colorado Workplace Accommodations for Nursing Mothers Act
Employers are required to provide reasonable unpaid break time or permit an employee to use paid break time, meal time, or both, each day to allow the employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for up to two years after the child’s birth. Employers must make reasonable efforts to provide a private room or other location in close proximity to the work area, other than a toilet stall, where an employee can express breast milk in privacy.
Family Medical Leave Act
This federal law applies only to employers with 50 or more employees. To qualify for coverage, an employee must generally have worked for the employer for one year. The law provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave and job protection for parents of newborn and adopted children, for the serious health condition of the employee, or for the employee to care for a close family member with a serious health condition. The law also covers up to 26 weeks of unpaid military caretaker leave for members of the national guard, reserves, and armed forces.
Colorado Healthy Families & Workplaces Act: Paid Sick Leave Rights
Under the Colorado paid sick leave law, all employees earn 1 hour of paid leave per 30 hours worked, up to 48 hours per year. Leave may be taken for preventive care and diagnosis, mental or physical illness, injury or health condition that prevents work, domestic abuse, sexual assault, or criminal harassment, and to care for a family member for the above. In addition, in a public health emergency, employees may use up to 80 additional hours of supplemental leave for self-isolation due to exposure, symptoms, or diagnosis of the communicable illness, to seek a diagnosis, treatment or care, or to care for a child or family member. Paid leave may not be counted as an absence from work and retaliation under the law is prohibited.
Colorado Protected Health/Safety Expression & Whistleblowing Act
This law prohibits employers from retaliating against or interfering with employees who raise reasonable concerns about workplace violations of government health or safety rules or a significant workplace health or safety threat. It also protects those who testify, assist, or participate in an investigation or proceeding under the Act.