Researching Colorado Employment Law, 0321 COBJ, Vol. 50, No. 3 Pg. 6

PositionVol. 50, 3 [Page 6]

50 Colo.Law. 6

Researching Colorado Employment Law

Vol. 50, No. 3 [Page 6]

Colorado Lawyer

March, 2021



In the wake of COVID-19's economic challenges, federal and state legislators have passed emergency relief measures affecting the employment law landscape in Colorado. This is in addition to other recent legislation affecting Colorado employers and employees in new ways. This article presents strategies for researching Colorado employment law and staying abreast of developments in this rapidly changing area. It covers both secondary materials, which offer a general understanding of employment law, and primary sources—statutes, regulations, and local ordinances. It also includes tips for researchers using subscription-based services.

The Big Picture

Jurisdiction-specific secondary materials are a great place to start researching an unfamiliar field of law. These materials usually give an overview of a topic and point researchers to relevant primary law. Recommended secondary sources for Colorado employment law are Colorado Employment Law,[1] which provides an excellent overview of employment law issues, and Colorado Employment Law and Practice,2 which offers Colorado-specific employment law information from experienced practitioners. Colorado Bar Association Continuing Legal Education (CBA-CLE) presentations and mate-rials are another good source for learning the basics about a specific field of law and often present a condensed introduction by experts in the field. Some materials address a narrow employment law issue, while others provide a broad review of Colorado employment law. For example, the 2020 Employment Law Conference, an annual update on changes to Colorado law and national developments, was delivered virtually, so the recording can be watched in its entirety. This and many other CLE programs and materials are available for purchase from CBA-CLE. Print materials from CBA-CLE can also be found in law library collections, including the University of Colorado-Boulder Wise Law Library and the University of Denver Westminster Law Library.

In addition, the CBA's Employment Law Section brings together attorneys interested in labor and employment law issues to exchange ideas. Resources from this section are accessible on the CBA's website.

The Mountain West Employment Law Letter[3]covers state employment issues in Colorado, as well as Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. The articles cover developments in employment law for the entire region, including actions of both state and federal agencies that impact employment-related issues. In 2020, the publisher condensed its state newsletters into nine regional publications, but all content from prior years remains available in the respective state databases in Westlaw, including the Colorado Employment Law Letter.4 Both tides can be found in Westlaw.

For information beyond Colorado law, researchers can turn to the multitude of books and treatises that have been written on various aspects of employment law. Recommended resources include:

■ Restatement of the Law, Employment Law,5

■ Employment Law,6

■ Nutshell series (e.g., Employment Law in a Nutshell[7] and Labor Law in a Nutshell[8]), and

■ CCH Labor Relations Reporter.9

For developing issues, researchers should consult employment law journals, such as the Employee Rights and Employment Policy Journal,10 the Employee Relations Law Journal,11and the ABA Journal of Labor and Employment Law.12 Many law schools, including Berkeley13 and Hofstra,14 also publish employment law journals or law reviews focused on recent issues in labor and employment law. These materials are often available online. Researchers can also search Social Science Research Network (SSRN)15 and bepress Digital Commons16 for articles written by law faculty.

Law libraries frequently draft research guides on specific fields of law. A Google search for "Employment Law Research Guide" provides a sample of these research guides. Both the Library of Congress17 and Georgetown Law Library,18 for example, have created in-depth guides to federal employment law research.

Honing the Search

While this article focuses on Colorado employment law research, researchers should keep in mind that employment law, and especially labor law, are also governed by federal law. Primary sources for Colorado employment law include both state and federal statutes, agency regulations, and local ordinances.

Colorado Statutes

Colorado statutes governing employment law are located in

■ Title 8: Labor and Industry,

■ Title 12: Professions and Occupations, and

■ Title 24: Government-State (including the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA) as it relates to employment practices at CRS §§ 24-34-401 et seq.).

The Colorado statutes are available online at no charge through LexisNexis.19Browsing the Table of Contents is an easy, no-cost way to find employment laws related to your research question.

The powers and duties of state agencies are defined by statute, so researchers can use the table of contents for the relevant tide to find out which agency handles different areas within that tide. Researchers can then visit the agency's website for additional materials.

Agency Regulations

Colorado agencies are a useful source for current developments. They provide online access to current and proposed regulations and allow interested parties to ask questions or obtain information directly from the agency. Often, they provide reports on current policies and guidance on how regulations should be applied. With a field as rapidly changing as employment law, staying current on how the laws are applied and the rationale behind this application is essential.

The main employment-related agency is the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE),20...

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