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NFIB IRATE OVER HICKENLOOPER'S APPROVAL OF 'SUE YOUR BOSS BILL'

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NFIB IRATE OVER HICKENLOOPER'S APPROVAL OF 'SUE YOUR BOSS BILL'

DENVER, Colo., May 6, 2013—In response to Gov. John Hickenlooper’s signing into law today House Bill 1136, the Sue-Your-Boss bill, the following statement was issued by Tony Gagliardi, Colorado state director for the National Federation of Independent Business, America’s Voice of Small Business. NFIB has 7,000 members in Colorado.

 

“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. That he should turn his back on his own small-business roots adds an extra element to the betrayal many small-business owners feel. There is very little he can do now that will salvage his reputation with the biggest job-creators in Colorado. Today’s signing of HB 1136 goes one step past disappointing toward despair.  The only people celebrating today’s action are the microscopic sliver of job-creators at employment law firms, who now have a new tool to sue mom-and-pop companies.”

Background

House Bill 1136 would have made it easier to sue employers under Colorado law for expanded classes of economic damages, as well as for non-economic damages.  These non-economic damages include emotional pain, inconvenience, mental anguish and loss of enjoyment of life.

A discrimination case filed against a small-business owner can easily cost the business $70,000 dollars, provided it is settled before going to trial. This amount can cause a small business to close its doors, even if the employer is successful in his or her defense.

It already is illegal to discriminate against employees in Colorado, no matter what size the business. In enterprises with 15 or fewer employees, a successful litigant can win reinstatement of his or her job and back pay.

According to the Colorado Civil Rights Division’s most recent annual report, only 339 employment discrimination claims were filed in a single year, and 313 were dismissed as having no merit. This, roughly, from a pool, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, of 111,500 Colorado firms having between 1 and 19 employees (89 percent of all companies in the state) with a total of 395,200 workers.

The inconvenient fact the three major sponsors of HB 1136 refuses to acknowledge is that discrimination cases are extremely rare, and the evidence for that comes from the state itself.

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