Colorado Sexual Harassment Law
What you do for a living has a huge impact on your happiness and general satisfaction in life. If you are being victimized by sexual harassment in the workplace, then it is difficult to find either happiness or satisfaction. Sexual harassment is illegal in Colorado not only because it violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but also because it violates Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act, which prohibits anyone from harassing another person in the workplace based on either their gender or their sexual orientation.
Protected factors under the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act include transgender status, sexual orientation, and an employer’s impression of a person’s sexual orientation. The only organizations which are exempt from the Anti-Discrimination Act are those that are not supported by public funds, and religious institutions.
Included within Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act is a marital provision that prohibits any employer with more than 25 employees from refusing to hire or to discharge anyone who either plans to marry either another employee or is already married to another employee. The only time that the marital provision would not apply to Colorado sexual harassment law is if:
- The employer has dismissal, appointment, disciplinary action or supervisory action powers over the spouse
- If the spouse is in charge of auditing, verifying, receiving or investing money which is handled by their spouse
- If the individual has confidential information related to the employer’s personnel records or payroll information
There are two ways that an employee can be sexually harassed in the workplace in Colorado: either through “quid pro quo” or through creating a hostile working environment.
If you are being sexually harassed due to quid pro quo, it means that someone is offering you something for something (“quid pro quo” literally means “this for that”). Quid pro quo sexual harassment involves someone offering you advancement or favors for acquiescing to their sexual advances. It can also mean that someone is making you feel coerced to give in to their sexual request by threatening your workplace advancement or by you losing a well-deserved promotion. Both of these are forms of sexual harassment and are illegal.
If you are the victim of sexual harassment that is creating a hostile workplace, this typically means that someone is either sexually propositioning you, gesturing in a sexually inappropriate manner, or even touching you without consent. A hostile work environment can also be created if someone is making sexual innuendos, telling gender-bias jokes, or making derogatory comments about your gender.
If you are a victim of sexual harassment, it is possible for you to receive compensation for any emotional distress you suffered, lost wages, and to have your Colorado sexual harassment attorney fees paid. If the situation is egregious enough, you also might be entitled to punitive damages.
The best way for an employer to protect their workplace environment is to have sexual harassment training for all of their employees and supervisors, to decrease the risks of having a sexual harassment suit initiated. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission suggests that companies and employers:
- Establish a complaint procedure for anyone who feels as if they are a victim of sexual harassment
- Have a clear policy in place to prohibit sexually harassing behavior
- Make employees and supervisors aware that you have a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment
- Take all complaints seriously and react immediately if someone makes a charge of harassment or otherwise voices concern
What are the steps to take if you are being sexually harassed?
When you have been sexually harassed, it is important that you tell either your supervisor, your employer, or your workplace’s human resources department. Since there are specific guidelines about what constitutes sexual harassment, both at the state level through the Anti-Discrimination Act and through federal guidelines, you might also want to file a claim through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
If you are the victim of sexual harassment, then it is imperative that you hire a Colorado sexual harassment lawyer to help guide you through the complexity of filing a complaint. There will be certain factors that you will need to prove to win your case in court. An experienced Colorado sexual harassment attorney will be able to not only make a claim for you and protect you against any retaliatory reactions from your place of employment, but can also help to make the harassment stop. Contact USAttorneys.com today to discuss what type of compensation you may be entitled to.