The Cordova Law Firm, LLP offers a broad range of services focused on the rights and interests of individuals who have been impacted by workplace violations. We represent professionals, executives, union workers, and both new and established employees in a wide range of cases and disputes.
With broad knowledge of this area of law, we are skilled in negotiations and settlement, but prepared to take any case to trial if the circumstances warrant.
Our employment rights attorney handles cases involving:
• Discrimination: We represent individuals who have suffered discrimination based on race, gender, sex, religion, age and disability. Wrongful termination, failure to promote and any disparate treatment might also be considered cases of discrimination in the workplace.
• Sexual harassment: Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, when submission to such conduct is made, whether explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of employment or when the conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment. No form of sexual harassment should be tolerated in the workplace. If you believe you have been a victim of sexual harassment we can help you and will zealously pursue a remedy on your behalf.
• Retaliation: Often it is an unfortunate consequences that employers who violate the law prohibiting discriminatory conduct will retaliate against those who complain about discrimination or other wrongful conduct. Retaliation for reporting discrimination, harassment, filing workers' compensation claims, whistleblowing or filing complaints for certain other types of employer misconduct is illegal. If your employer has retaliated against you, we can help.
• Wrongful discharge: Wrongful discharge can take many forms. While Colorado is an Employment at Will State, the law still prohibits an employer from discharging an employee when it violates a federal or state protected right or when it may violate certain contractual provisions. If you were terminated from a job and believe your employer's action was illegal, we can help in determining whether the law provides you with any protection against employer wrongdoing.
If you are considering legal action against an employer, please do not hesitate to contact us for a free consultation. You can also contact us by e-mail at your convenience.
EMPLOYMENT LAW: DO I HAVE A CASE?
In the employment law field like other law fields, the answer is always “it depends” — but we might be able to help you work through your questions. There are lots of things to think about.
First, are you an employee or an independent contractor? As you might guess, most of the employment laws apply to “employees” and “employers”. If you are misclassified as an independent contractor, but you function as an employee, you might still be able to claim the protections of the employment laws. If you are an independent contractor, you still have rights but it might be in a different area of the law. Independent contractor claims are often resolved through breach of contract claims.
Second, it is important to understand that bad management is not illegal. Employers can make mistakes or bad decisions, but most times that’s not enough to take him or her to court. If it were, every employer would be in court every day for doing something that’s just downright stupid.
The question is whether the employer’s conduct is illegal?
Most people are employees at will, which means you can be fired at the employer’s will or resign by your own choice, without anybody owing the other any compensation. However, an employer cannot fire you for a discriminatory reason or to retaliate against you for making a complaint. State and federal law prohibits discrimination in the work place and the employer’s job is to make sure that discrimination does not occur. In other words, an employer cannot take adverse actions against you because of your age, disability, pregnancy, race or national origin, religion, sex or pregnancy. An employer cannot give different pay or benefits based on discriminatory reasons. Likewise, state and federal law prohibits an employer from allowing a hostile work place to develop or tolerate its existence. If you complain to your employer about some form of discrimination, the employer cannot retaliate against you by firing you or taking away some term, condition or benefit of your employment.
There are exceptions to the at-will doctrine.
If your employer has entered into a contract with you and then didn’t follow it when he or she fired you, you might have a wrongful discharge claim. A contract can be “express” or one that has been written down and both of you have signed. Or, a contract can be “implied” which means that your employer has given out some kind of information (like a policy manual) that contains information that alters the employment at will relationship, like promises about progressive discipline.
There are several different ways for lawyers to get paid, depending on your resources. If you can pay hourly fees, we can handle the case that way. If you cannot afford to pay hourly, and many people can’t when they are out of work, we can discuss a contingent fee agreement. That means that you will pay us a percentage of any recovery you make, to cover our fees and costs. If you do not recover any monies, that we do not receive a fee. Sometimes, we do a hybrid agreement, where you pay us some money on an hourly basis and some money on a contingent basis. If we decide to represent you and you decide to hire us, we will discuss how you pay us and put it in a fee agreement. Once we both sign the agreement, then we are your lawyers and you are our client. We are not your lawyer until both of us agree in writing.
WHAT IS MY CLAIM WORTH?
As you might expect, the answer again is “it depends.” Each case is different and figuring out damages takes a lot of work. What’s more, no attorney can guarantee you that you will recovery any money, much less tell you how much. There are just too many variables. That being said, there are certain things that we look at to estimate your damages.
For example, in a discriminatory firing case, the first thing we look at is your back pay damages. Back pay is how much money you lost from the time the employment relationship ends to the time when judgment is entered in your favor. There are deductions from this amount for a number of things, but back pay is always a good starting point. We would also look at front pay or that amount needed to put you back into an equal position if you became re-employed but aren’t making as much but may, eventually, get back to the same earning level in the future. You might also be entitled to pain and suffering, if the treatment you suffered caused you emotional or mental distress.
If you have a wage claim, your damages are probably the amount of unpaid wages plus possible penalties. If you have an unpaid overtime claim, your damages are probably the amount of the unpaid overtime plus possible penalties. Sometimes courts will also award attorneys’ fees and litigation costs if you succeed in your claims. The damages calculation is one of the most important things to consider, when deciding whether to bring a case.
WILL I HAVE TO GO TO TRIAL?
That depends on whether the case settles or not. Statistically most cases settle, but we always prepare as if we are going to trial because that’s how we can get the best settlements. Sometimes the other side simply won’t make a settlement offer, which means you will have to go to trial to recover. Your lawyer will always tell you if the other side makes a settlement offer. We have to tell you, because you get to decide whether to accept settlement. It’s important to understand that settlement isn’t giving in or giving up or a lack of confidence in your case. In actuality, it is the way to resolve your dispute while your fate is in your hands. If the case goes to trial and a jury or judge has to decide how much you should get, there’s no way to predict what the verdict will be. Sometimes, it’s more important to have certainty in a settlement rather than uncertainty in a verdict.
As you can see, there are a lot of things to consider. Always get the advice of a skilled employment lawyer before you make any decisions about your legal rights.