Public Employees

Employees of the federal government, State government and local government may be protected from arbitrary discharge by statutes that require just cause for termination of employment. In addition, public employees who have a “property” interest in their jobs, such as through those statutes, must receive due process before losing their employment.

In addition, public employees are protected from unlawful employment discrimination, although the procedures they must follow may be different than the ones for private-sector employees. Federal employees must notify an Equal Employment Opportunity specialist within 45 days of an allegedly discrimination employment action and, if the EEO specialist cannot resolve that employee’s claims, must file an administrative complaint of employment discrimination. Those proceedings can lead to an administrative hearing before an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) administrative judge and possibly a lawsuit in federal court.

State employees in Colorado can file a complaint with the Colorado State Personnel Board. A State employee claiming employment discrimination can elect to have his/her charge investigated by the Colorado Civil Rights Division, and often can receive a hearing in the State Personnel Board.

Local government employees also may be protected by local civil service ordinances. Those protections vary considerably from city to city.