Fact Sheet for City and County Employees in Colorado
Employees of cities and counties in Colorado may have legal rights that differ from those rights available to private-sector employees. This guide provides an overview of the administrative and legal processes available for employees of cities and counties in Colorado.
Processes Available for City and County EmployeesMany cities and counties within the State of Colorado have grievance, hearing, or other administrative processes by which employees can challenge employment actions that have been taken against them. The particular administrative process available is dependent upon the specific city or county in which an employee is employed. Many of these administrative processes also allow city and county employees to bring claims of discrimination. For example, career service employees of the City of Denver can appeal certain employment actions and raise allegations of discrimination through the process afforded by the Career Service Rules. The City of Colorado Springs also provides an internal procedure for appealing certain types of disciplinary action. To determine what administrative processes are available in a particular city or county, an employee should consult with the human resources office. Employees of cities and counties in Colorado also have the right to bring claims of discrimination under state and/or federal law through the processes available to private sector employees, as discussed below.
Claims of DiscriminationEmployees of cities and counties in Colorado have the right to file a charge of discrimination with the Colorado Civil Rights Division (CCRD) or United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). A charge of discrimination must be filed with the CCRD within six months of the action at issue. If the employee files a charge of discrimination with the EEOC, he or she must do so within 300 days of the discriminatory action. After the charge is filed, the CCRD or EEOC will contact the employer to obtain its response to the employee*s charge of discrimination. After receiving the employer*s response, the CCRD or EEOC will then provide it to the employee. At that time, the employee has the opportunity to file a rebuttal statement, and any supporting evidence, with the CCRD or EEOC. The CCRD or EEOC then will issue a determination as to whether probable cause exists that discrimination occurred as alleged. If probable cause is found, the CCRD or EEOC will request that the parties engage in facilitated settlement discussions in effort to resolve the complaint. If probable cause is not found, or if after finding probable cause settlement discussions are not successful, the CCRD or EEOC generally will then issue a notice of right to sue, which allows the employee to proceed to litigating his or her claims in court.
Colorado Governmental Immunity ActThe Colorado Governmental Immunity Act (CGIA) requires that any individual bringing a claim in tort against any public entity located within the State of Colorado provide notice to the public entity within 162 days from the date of injury. If notice is required and not provided within the required time period, then the claim is barred. It is debatable whether such notice is required related to all employment claims against cities and counties within Colorado. However, to ensure the claim is not barred because of lack of notice, we recommend that employees file the required CGIA notice within the requisite time period.
ConclusionAs with all areas of the law, employment claims brought by city and county employees are fact specific and can be complex. As such, each situation is different and must be evaluated on an individual basis. Employment attorneys experienced in representing city and county employees, such as those as The Wick Law Office, can provide advice to assist you with this determination.