Janet Savage

Nathalie Bleuzé
Of Counsel
Sybil R. Kisken
Of Counsel

Employment & Labor Law

Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP has a strong employment and labor practice, which has assisted and advised clients for decades on virtually every aspect of the employment relationship.

Our Employment & Labor Law Group has been extremely successful in litigating all types of employment disputes, including cases involving allegations of discrimination and harassment based on race, sex, national origin, age, pregnancy, disability, and sexual orientation, as well as associated retaliation claims.  We also regularly prosecute and defend lawsuits seeking damages and injunctive relief for violations of noncompetition agreements and theft of trade secrets.   We have an extensive track record of winning trials before judges and juries, prevailing on motions, and obtaining favorable settlements for our clients.  We also have been very successful in defending and prosecuting appeals of cases to higher courts. 

We also regularly represent clients in administrative proceedings before state and federal agencies, including, without limitation, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the National Labor Relations Board, the U.S. Department of Labor, the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, and various other state and federal agencies.  This representation includes assisting clients with investigations and audits, defending charges of discrimination and retaliation and unfair labor practice charges, and negotiating settlements on the best possible terms. 

Drawing on extensive litigation and administrative experience, our employment lawyers provide day to day counselling designed to emphasize risk reduction in areas typically giving rise to lawsuits.  We also assist clients in drafting and rewriting employment and noncompetition agreements, employee handbooks and manuals, drug and alcohol testing programs, personnel policies, or planning other personnel actions ranging from terminations of individual employees to large-scale layoffs and reductions in force.

We also have experience drafting and reviewing employment-related documents in connection with corporate transactions (including mergers, acquisitions, and sales), and conducting due diligence in the employment and labor law area for buyers in such transactions. 

We also have experience in the more traditional areas of labor law.  In particular, we represent clients in arbitration proceedings under collective bargaining agreements, union organizing campaigns, and collective bargaining negotiations.  We have been involved in advising clients in matters relating to concerted employee activity, union recognition and bargaining, and other issues related to employer-union relations.

May 2016

Addressing Employee Violence & Theft in the Workplace

Please join us for a briefing on two areas of misconduct that can create risk for an employer: workplace violence and misuse and theft of company property, including electronic information.

October 2015

Employment Law Update

Please join us for an update on recent state and federal legal developments in the employment arena. This briefing will discuss hiring practices, including how pre-employment medical exams and screening tests recently led to a $2.8 million settlement between the EEOC and Target, an update on the U.S. Department of Labor's proposed new overtime rules for white collar employees, and other wage and hour issues, among other things.

May 2015

Chambers USA Ranks DGS Among Top Corporate/M&A and Natural Resources & Environment Practices

The 2015 edition of the Chambers USA ranked Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP first in Colorado in the areas of Corporate/M&A and Natural Resources & Environment. Chambers USA also recognized DGS for its strong Labor & Employment and Commercial Litigation practices.

May 2014

Chambers USA Ranks DGS at the Top Corporate/M&A and Natural Resources & Environment Practices

The 2014 edition of the Chambers USA ranked Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP first in Colorado in the areas of Corporate/M&A and Natural Resources & Environment. Chambers USA also recognized DGS for its strong Labor & Employment and Commercial Litigation practices.

March 2014

Employment Law Update

Please join us for this seminar that will focus on changes in Colorado and federal employment laws and will provide practical guidance to ensure compliance. Our guest speaker, Peter Wingate, Deputy Director of the Colorado Division of Labor, will discuss wage and hour issues affecting Colorado employers. DGS partners Janet Savage and Brett Painter will then share answers to some commonly-asked legal questions. 

January 2014

DGS Employment Law Update

Please join us for this seminar that will focus on the practical and legal implications for employers resulting from the legalization of marijuana in Colorado. Our Guest Speaker, Ashley Kilroy, Denver's Executive Director for Marijuana Policy, will share her insight on the first 30 days of legalized recreational marijuana sales in Colorado. DGS attorneys Kristi Walton and Sybil Kisken will then share answers to your questions, as well as to some commonly-asked legal questions about how Colorado's legalization of marijuana impacts the workplace

December 2013

Employment Law Update

Please join us for a seminar that will focus on the Colorado Wage Act, the Wage Protection Act of 2014, and related provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Our speakers will provide an overview of the Wage Protection Act as well as key changes, which will go into effect on January 1, 2015. This briefing will offer answers to important questions about the changes in the law as well as existing provisions. 

May 2013

DGS Employment Law Update

Please join us for this seminar that will focus on changes in Colorado and federal employment laws and will provide practical guidance to ensure compliance.

Topics will include the Colorado Family Care Act, Marijuana in the workplace, Colorado Civil Unions Act, Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act, Colorado Employment Opportunity Act and its impact on employee credit checks, and Colorado and federal developments regarding social media.

June 2012

Chambers USA Ranks DGS at the Top for Corporate/M&A and Natural Resources & Environment Practices

Chambers USA

The 2012 edition of the Chambers USA ranked Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP first in Colorado in the areas of Corporate/M&A and Natural Resources & Environment. Chambers USA also recognized DGS for its strong Commercial Litigation and Labor & Employment practices.


April 2012

Facebook Privacy Issues Arising in Hiring Process

Denver Business Journal

News reports that some employers have begun to ask job candidates for their Face­book passwords have stirred a national debate over workers’ right to privacy. The issue also may have you rethinking those photos you posted of yourself doing tequila shots and pole dancing at your neighborhood bar.


June 2010

Chambers USA Places DGS at the Top for Corporate/M&A and Natural Resources/Environmental Law in Colorado

The 2010 edition of the Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business today ranked Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP first in Colorado in the areas of corporate law, including mergers and acquisitions, and natural resources and environmental law, which includes the traditional and renewable energy sectors and the mining industry. Chambers also recognized DGS for its strong general commercial and employment litigation practices.


June 2009

Chambers USA Reaffirms High Marks for Davis Graham & Stubbs Environmental Law and Corporate Practices

Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP has been recognized again in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business in the areas of Environmental, Corporate/M&A, Labor & Employment and Commercial Litigation.


March 2008

Important Employment Law News

This quarter’s employment alert focuses on recent activity by Congress and the U.S. Department of Labor with respect to the Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA"), and activity by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regarding a rule about employee health benefits.


June 2007

Chambers USA Rankings Highlight Davis Graham & Stubbs Strengths In Commercial Litigation, Environmental Law

Davis Graham & Stubbs ranked in the top tier of Colorado business law firms in the fields of Commercial Litigation and Environmental Law in the just-released 2007 edition of Chambers USA:  America’s Leading Lawyers for Business.  DGS was also recognized in the fields of corporate mergers and acquisitions, labor and employment, and real estate. 


February 2007

Davis Graham & Stubbs Offering Free Seminar for Real Estate and Construction Employers on Immigration Issues

Davis Graham & Stubbs is offering a complimentary breakfast briefing on Thursday, March 8, 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. in their offices.  The seminar, “Immigration Issues for Construction and Real Estate Employers,” is hosted by the firm’s Real Estate Group to brief developers, homebuilders and contractors about immigration laws, both federal and state, and how they impact construction and real estate employers in Colorado.


October 2006

Davis Graham & Stubbs Offering Annual Free Seminars on Labor and Employment Law

Davis Graham & Stubbs is offering its popular Annual Employment Law Update seminars Wednesday, November 1 at the Hotel Denver Tech, Thursday, November 2 at the Davis Graham LoDo offices, and Wednesday, November 8 at the Westin Westminster. Each year at this free half-day seminar, the experienced employment attorneys at Davis Graham address the most pressing labor law topics, this year including harassment in the workplace, ADA and FMLA challenges, retaliation issues, the contingent worker alternative, and electronic age employment issues.


August 2006

Davis Graham & Stubbs Offering Free Seminar for Employers on New Colorado Immigration Law

Davis Graham & Stubbs is offering a complimentary breakfast briefing on Tuesday, August 22nd, 8:00-9:00 a.m. in their offices. The seminar, “Getting Ready for Colorado’s New Immigration Enforcement Law” is co-sponsored with CRS Insurance Brokerage and Daniels Benefit Specialists and will inform employers about the new immigration law in Colorado going into effect August 1, and the implications of this law for employers.


June 2006

Davis Graham & Stubbs Offers Free Seminar for Employers on ADA and FMLA Requirements

Davis Graham & Stubbs is offering a complimentary breakfast briefing on the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family Medical Leave Act on Thursday, June 15, 8:00-9:00 a.m. in their offices. “FMLA & ADA Bootcamp” is co-sponsored with CRS Insurance Brokerage and Daniels Benefit Specialists to advise employers how to comply with requirements of Title I of the ADA and the FMLA. Davis Graham employment partner Janet Savage will be the featured speaker for the briefing. Ms. Savage has 25 years experience counseling companies on labor and employment issues and defending discrimination and harassment claims in significant litigation. 


November 2004

Spring was a season of victories for the DGS Labor & Employment group

On April 5th, Janet Savage, Andy Low and Dale Harris won a major victory in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. In Heno v. Sprint/United Management Co., the Tenth Circuit reversed a jury verdict for the plaintiff in a race discrimination case.


U.S. Supreme Court: If You Lie, You Lose

It has always been difficult for employers to get discrimination cases dismissed before trial. The United States Supreme Court now has made it more difficult. In a June 2000 decision, the high court ruled that an employee protected by one of the federal anti-discrimination statutes can win a discrimination case merely by persuading the jury that the reason given by an employer for its action was not the true reason.


September 2004

New Developments in the ADA

I. When is an Employee “Disabled” within the Meaning of the ADA? Toyota Motor Mfg. v. Williams, 122 S.Ct. 681 (2002)

A. Facts and lower court decisions.

  1. Ella Williams worked at Toyota’s automobile manufacturing plant in Georgetown, Kentucky. Initially, she worked on the engine fabrication assembly line.



June 2004

Supreme Court Decision Confirms Need for Effective Anti-Harassment Policies and Grievance Mechanisms

Although claims of constructive discharge and hostile work environment have long been litigated in employment cases in the federal courts, the Supreme Court has only recently considered a claim combining the two doctrines.


April 2004

Fair Labor Standards Act Update

On April 20, 2004, in an attempt to better accommodate the realities of the modern workplace, the United States Department of Labor (“DOL”) published regulations changing the standards governing whether employees are exempt from the overtime and minimum wage requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).  The new regulations go into effect on August 23, 2004 and will affect the overtime eligibility of workers.


June 2003

Wage and Hour Update

Introduction. The legislature significantly revised Colorado’s Wage Act this year. The amendments took effect in August 2003 and are largely employer-friendly. By understanding the nature and impact of the new revisions, employers can more effectively protect themselves against claims under the Act.


Resolving Employment Disputes Outside Court

In this section, we look at the current state of employment law related ADR. 


New ADA and FMLA Issues

Three federal statutes often come into play when employers are faced with the issue of how to treat certain absences from work. These federal laws are:

  1. Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”),
  2. The Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), and
  3. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (“PDA”).


October 2002

Bad Facts, Big Liability

In recent years, juries have awarded high damages, often in the millions, to plaintiffs in employment cases. Although these awards are often reduced later by court action, juries are sending a message to the employer about the conduct giving rise to the lawsuit. In many cases, the facts underlying million dollar verdicts have included egregious conduct by the employer or by coworkers. However, it is sometimes lack of action, or actions taken with good intentions, that give rise to “bad facts.” A “bad fact” is one which may not support, or even suggest, a finding of liability, but makes the circumstances at issue “smell bad.” In this respect, the jury in an employment case is unique. Most jurors are or have been employees themselves and, therefore, often can easily relate to and sympathize with the plaintiff. As a result, jurors (who can readily put themselves in the plaintiff’s shoes) may find against the employer where the employer has treated the plaintiff in a way that the juror finds unacceptable or offensive, even if not illegal.


March 2002

Dealing with Employee Vices

I. Employee Theft
A. Investigations

  1. Defamation risks
  • Definition: Publication of a statement about another person that tends to demean that other person and results in injury to that person’s reputation.


January 2002

Conflicts of Interest Issues in Simultaneous Representation of Employers and Employees in Employment Law

American Bar Association

Plaintiffs suing their former employers for wrongful discharge or employment discrimination often sue their individual supervisors and co-workers as well. In suits by former employees for wrongful discharge or employment discrimination, the alleged conduct of a fellow employee is usually the basis for the lawsuit. Defense attorneys in these cases are often faced with the decision of whether to undertake joint representation of both the defendant employer and the defendant employee.


September 2001

Toughest Sexual Harassment Problems - What they are, What to do

After ten years of litigation and training, employers are becoming increasingly proactive in eliminating sexual harassment from the workplace.  They are doing so through a variety of strategies, including (a) establishing strong policies prohibiting sexual harassment, (b) educating their employees concerning those policies and complaint procedures, (c) promptly investigating complaints of sexual harassment, and (d) taking effective corrective action where sexual harassment is found to exist.


November 2000

Restraining Orders: Taking Measures to Protect Your Employees and Company from Workplace Violence and Stalking

Every year in the United States, over a million people become the victims of some form of workplace violence. In a recent survey, more than half of the companies polled reported at least one of their workers had been attacked, stalked, threatened, or killed on the job within the last five years. Too often, we read about these frightening statistics in daily newspapers, which frequently contain headlines of violent confrontations in the workplace.


Employee Privacy in the Workplace

I. What Is Invasion of Privacy?
A. Restatement (Second) of Torts, ' 652A, identifies four separate torts
1. Unreasonable intrusion upon the seclusion of another; 2. Appropriation of the other's name or likeness; 3. Unreasonable publicity given to the other's private life; and 4. Publicity that unreasonably places the other in a false light before the public.


September 2000

Non-Compete, Non-Disclosure, and Non-Solicitation Clauses in Employment Contracts

Yu Stromberg Cleveland, P.C.

Co-authors: Wallis S. Stromberg and Paul D. Godec

In many of today’s highly competitive industries, information and knowledge truly represent power in the marketplace. Of course, to unleash the power and profitability of the information, employers often must impart proprietary information and knowledge to their employees. In order to insulate proprietary information from business competitors, employers frequently attempt to protect their competitive business advantages by requiring their employees
to sign employment contracts containing covenants not to compete, non-disclosure provisions,
and non-solicitation provisions.


April 2000

Indefinite Leave Not Required Under ADA

In Taylor v. Pepsi-Cola Company, 196 F. 3d 1106 (10th Cir. 1999), the Tenth Circuit held that Pepsi- Cola Company ("Pepsi") did not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") when it discharged the plaintiff after he was unable to tell the company when he would be able to return to work following a work-related injury and to what position.


March 2000

Damage Control: Potential Liability in Colorado Related to Workplace Information

Each year, employers in Colorado are faced with an increasing number of defamation claims in employment lawsuits. Whether the claim originates from a bad reference or an individual who believes he was improperly accused of sexual harassment, employers must be sensitive to the risk of statements made inside and outside the workplace. This risk is magnified by the fact that individual employees can expose the company to liability for their oral and written statements. Knowledge of the following information will help employers to prevent and defend against claims for libel or slander.


November 1999

Employment Practices Liability

When help-wanted notices or advertisements contain terms and phrases, such as "age 25-35," "young," "college student," "recent college graduate," "boy," "girl," or other descriptions of a similar nature, such a term or phrase deters the employment of older persons and is a violation of the federal Age Discrimination In Employment Act ("ADEA").


June 1999

Controlling Attendance in Light of the ADA, FMLA and the PDA

Personnel Law Update 1999

Three federal statutes often come into play when employers are faced with the issue of how to treat certain absences from work. These federal laws are Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). Initially, most employers focused on the basic changes necessary to comply with these statutes. 


May 1999

Managing the Risks of Sexual Harassment Claims: A Defense Perspective

After a long trend of increases in the number of sexual harassment claims, recent statistics from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission seem to demonstrate a slight decline in sexual harassment charges. Charges of sexual harassment before the EEOC dropped from 15,889 in 1997 to 15,618 in 1998. This decrease followed a steady increase in charges since 1991 when there were 6,883 EEOC charges involving sexual harassment claims. The total monetary benefits awarded in sexual harassment claims handled by the EEOC dropped as well, from $49.5 million in 1997 to $34.3 million in 1998. While there was a slight increase in probable cause determinations from the EEOC during that same time period, such determinations still remained relatively low at 6.1% of all charges filed.


March 1999

Sexual Harassment: How to Ensure that your Workplace Complies with Recent Supreme Court Decisions

Recently, the United States Supreme Court handed down two decisions defining the circumstances under which employers can be held vicariously liable for sexual harassment committed by a supervisor against another employee.


February 1999

Recruiting, Hiring and Supervising Workers Without Violating the Age Discrimination in Employment Act

Age discrimination is prohibited under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C.S. ␣ 621 et seq. (␣ADEA␣). The ADEA was modeled after Title VII which prohibits discrimination in employment because of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Like Title VII, the ADEA deals with all aspects of discrimination in the workplace: hiring, assignments, promotions, compensation, environment, and discharges. The ADEA prohibits age discrimination against individuals who are at least 40 years old. In 1986, the upper age limit of 70 years old was removed so that the statute now prohibits discrimination regardless of whether an employee is beyond the age of 70.