Colorado’s state codes provides protection for people who report information regarding the illegal or inappropriate conduct of employers. These informants are called "whistleblowers." The Colorado Revised Statutes contains provisions that protect whistleblowers in both public and private employment settings:
- Colorado code § 24-50.5- 101 to 107: Public Employees
- Employees of the state of Colorado are protected from any disciplinary action by their employer for providing or disclosing information regarding illegal policies or actions that are not in the public interest
- Employee must file a written complaint within 30 days of incident(s) with a state personnel board
- May recover back pay, be reinstated, etc.
- Civil lawsuits are only available if a complaint with the board is denied
- Colorado code §24-114- 101: Private Employees
- Employer may not administer disciplinary action for disclosures of information
- However, employee must make efforts to provide the information directly to a supervisor or other internal authority before disclosing information to an outside source
- Employee can bring a civil lawsuit and be awarded damages/other relief
Note that within both government and private workplaces, an informant is not protected by these statutes if they knowingly disclose information that is false or fraudulent.
Are There Any Other Laws Protecting Whistleblowers in Colorado?
Yes. The Colorado General Assembly recently implemented an act in 2007 that protects workers employed in the health care profession. This act is entitled "Concerning Protection for Health Care Workers who Report Patient Safety Information."
Do I Need to Obtain a Lawyer for My Whistleblower Claim?
It is a good idea to contact an employment lawyer if you feel that you have a whistleblower claim in Colorado. You will likely be required to provide several reports regarding employer misconduct and any instances of retaliation. A lawyer can help provide you with advice and keep you updated on the status of your claim. Since Colorado allows employees to file suits against their employers, any reports that you make might end up being used in a court of law. Be sure to make comprehensive and detailed written accounts while the facts of the incidents are still fresh in your mind. Also, you should keep receipts and any other pertinent documents.