Colorado News & Analysis

  • New COVID-19 law requires paid sick, family leave

    On March 18, President Donald Trump signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which passed the Senate with a bipartisan vote of 90-8 earlier that day. The new law requires covered employers to provide emergency paid sick leave and emergency paid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) until December 31, 2020. Some of the key requirements are summarized below.

  • Accommodating mental impairments doesn't have to cause anxiety

    Since the 2008 expansion of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), increasing numbers of ADA claims have been filed by employees with mental impairments—and such claims are meeting with increasing success. The trend is the result of the ADA regulations specifically listing that impairments such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder will in "virtually all cases" be covered by the Act—entitling such employees to reasonable accommodations.

  • Wyoming Legislature rejecting most antiemployer bills

    he Wyoming Legislature continues to churn through its biannual budget. True to form, the lawmakers have rejected most of the antiemployer measures introduced this year, but employers should continue to pay attention during the session's final days.

  • Judge or jury: MT high court rules on who decides discrimination cases

    When a Montana employer gets sued, it is often concerned about whether a judge or jury will decide the case. Generally, Montana employers tend to believe a judge will be fairer and more reasonable than a jury. Part of their concern arises out of the reality that most people on a jury are employees. It's rare to get a juror who is an employer. Because of that reality, most employers believe jurors will view the case through the employee's lens and not understand or fairly evaluate the case from the employer's perspective. A recent Montana Supreme Court case clarifies the issue of whether discrimination cases are heard by a judge or a jury.

  • No constructive discharge for psych exam requirement revoked years earlier

    The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings apply to all Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming employers) recently upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by a surgeon against the University of New Mexico Hospital (UNMH) for requiring him to undergo psychiatric evaluations, revoking the requirements, and allegedly constructively discharging him years later based on a perceived disability. The three-year-old request for medical examinations, which was withdrawn weeks later without any change in the doctor's terms of employment, didn't create a job environment a reasonable person would consider intolerable enough to constitute a constructive discharge. The 10th Circuit also upheld dismissal of his unlawful medical inquiry claim under the Rehabilitation Act because it was time-barred.

  • Pay attention to legal papers or pay a hefty price

    As busy professionals, HR managers have hundreds of pages of paper that cross their desks each week. A recent Montana Supreme Court case highlights the importance of paying attention to legal papers. The court refused to set aside a default judgment when an HR manager failed to timely respond to legal papers.

  • Determining your response to a threat of harm

    Q We have a nonexempt employee who sent an e-mail requesting time off in lieu of pay for overtime hours he already worked. Are we allowed to grant his request?

  • Cutting-Edge HR

    Fighting labor shortage with charter buses. With the unemployment rate hitting historic lows, many employers are struggling to find workers. Package delivery giant FedEx is fighting the problem by turning to chartering buses to bring people in from areas with available workers. The Wall Street Journal featured FedExs program in an article that explains how the company buses workers to its Memphis, Tennessee, hub from areas hours away in Mississippi. The workers earn starting wages of $13.26 an hour, better wages than are available in their home area, where manufacturing jobs have been lost. The busing program runs year-round and was nearing its first anniversary when the article was published.

  • Determining your response to a threat of harm

    Q We have a long-term employee who has begun acting irrationally and erratically—demanding to be placed on projects he isn't qualified for, having emotional outbursts in front of other employees—which has had a negative effect on his work performance. He also has vision issues that have resulted in the loss of his driver's license. Can we legally suspend his employment until he is evaluated by a doctor and receives medical clearance to return to work?

  • Federal Watch

    Bill gives paid parental leave to 2 million federal workers. A bill including a provision to grant federal workers up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave has passed as part of a larger defense bill backed by President Donald Trump. The bill passed the Senate on December 17 and had previously passed the House. Its expected to provide paid parental leave for more than 2 million federal workers and was backed by Ivanka Trump, the presidents daughter and a key adviser. The parental leave part of the bill was supported by many Democrats and opposed by many Republicans. It was one of the legislative compromises reached during the runup to the impeachment fight.