Source: The Denver Post
Gov. John Hickenlooper on Monday signed House Bill 1136, also known as the Job Protection and Civil Rights Enforcement Act of 2013.
The new law “expands available remedies for workers to recover compensatory and punitive damages from employers who have intentionally engaged in discriminatory practices,” Hickenlooper said. He states that law firms that cover these litigation claims are trying their best to ensure that everything is in favor of the workers, from making sure that documents are properly filed (we use Filecenter for effortless paperless document management) to making sure that workers understand their compensation needs.
The damage awards are limited to $10,000 for employers with up to four employees and $25,000 for employers with 5 to 14 employees.
The effective date of the law is delayed until January 2015, allowing small businesses to prepare.
Opponents, including the Colorado chapter of the National Federation Independent Business, had asked Hickenlooper to veto the bill.
“House Bill 1136 was the acid test of whether or not the governor was a man of his word. In signing this needless, punitive assault on Main Street enterprises, the promise he made in his State-of-the-State address to create a favorable environment for small businesses to thrive in now rings hollow and insincere,” NFIB state director Tony Gagliardi said in a statement issued Monday.
In a statement announcing the bill signing, Hickenlooper noted his small-business roots.
“As a former small business owner, I know full well that discrimination in the workplace is the rare exception and not the rule in Colorado,” Hickenlooper said. “Small business cannot thrive with red tape, needless bureaucracy and frivolous or harassing litigation.
“While our administration is very sympathetic to these concerns, we also believe that HB-1136 has been crafted with safeguards against frivolous lawsuits and excessive damage claims. Moreover, we believe HB13-1136 rightly embraces employment discrimination remedies for companies with fewer than 15 employees that are recognized in most other states,” Hickenlooper said.
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