Employer- A person or entity which hires the services of another.

Employee- A person who is hired for a wage, salary, fee or payment to perform work for an employer.

Employment At Will- A common-law rule that an employment contract of indefinite duration can be terminated by either the employer or the employee at any time for any reason; also known as terminable at will.

For Cause - an intentional act of fraud, embezzlement, theft or any other material violation of law that occurs during or in the course of one’s employment.  This also includes intentional damage to company’s assets including intentional breach of any of company’s policies or willful conduct by the employee that is demonstrably and materially injurious to company, monetarily or otherwise.

Protected Class- A characteristic of a person which cannot be targeted for discrimination. The following characteristics are considered "Protected Classes":

  • Race – Federal: Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • Religion – Federal: Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • National origin – Federal: Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • Age (40 and over) – Federal: Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967
  • Gender – Federal: Equal Pay Act of 1963 & Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • Pregnancy – Federal: Pregnancy Discrimination Act
  • Citizenship – Federal: Immigration Reform and Control Act
  • Familial status - Federal: Civil Rights Act of 1968 Title VIII (Housing, cannot discriminate for having children, exception for senior housing)
  • Disability status – Federal: Vocational Rehabilitation and Other Rehabilitation Services of 1973 & Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
  • Veteran status – Federal Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974; Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act
  • Genetic information – Federal: Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act
  • Sexual orientation - Colorado allows for this as a protected class, whereas Federal law does not.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 - a federal law that prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, and religion. It generally applies to employers with 15 or more employees, including federal, state, and local governments. Title VII also applies to private and public colleges and universities, employment agencies, and labor organizations.


Title IX - a comprehensive federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity.


Employment Contract-  Contract between employer and employee

Covenant Not to Compete-A provision in an employment contract in which the employee agrees not to compete in the same business for a period of years or in the geographic area after leaving the company.

Non-Disclosure Agreement -  a legal contract between at least two parties that outlines confidential material, knowledge, or information that the parties wish to share with one another for certain purposes, but wish to restrict access to or by third parties. It is also known as a confidentiality agreement (CA), confidential disclosure agreement (CDA), proprietary information agreement (PIA), or secrecy agreement.

EEOC- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; an agency of the federal government, created by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII). The purpose of the EEOC is to interpret and enforce federal laws prohibiting discrimination.


Discrimination- Treatment or consideration based on class or category, such as race or gender, rather than individual merit.

Sexual Harassment- Inappropriate behavior of a sexual nature, such as repeated sexual advances or offensive remarks, that occurs usually in a workplace, school, or other institutional setting, especially by a person in authority with respect to a subordinate or a student.

Hostile Work Environment- A hostile work environment exists when an employee experiences workplace harassment and fears going to work because of the offensive, intimidating, or oppressive atmosphere generated by the harasser. A hostile work environment may also be created when management acts in a manner designed to make an employee quit in retaliation for some action.

Reinstatement- To restore an employee to a previous position.

Americans with Disabilities Act- The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodation, communications, and governmental activities.


Older Workers Benefit Protection Act- In 1990, Congress passed the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA) which amended the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) to safeguard older workers’ employee benefits from age discrimination.


Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993- The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) is a United States federal law requiring covered employers to provide employees job-protected and unpaid leave for qualified medical and family reasons.


Equal Pay Act of 1963- The Equal Pay Act of 1963 is a United States federal law amending the Fair Labor Standards Act, aimed at abolishing wage disparity based on gender.


Fair Labor Standards Act- The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law which establishes minimum wage, overtime pay eligibility, recordkeeping, and child labor standards affecting full-time and part-time workers in the private sector and in federal, state, and local governments.


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