Iris Halpern is a partner at Rathod Mohamedbhai LLC. Iris has been passionately fighting for plaintiffs and their civil rights for her entire legal career.
Before coming to Rathod Mohamedbhai, Iris worked as a trial attorney for over seven years, ultimately serving as the Senior Trial Attorney and an Acting Supervisory Attorney in the Denver Field Office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. At the EEOC, Iris’s work focused on seeking relief for victims, frequently in systemic and large class cases, under federal antidiscrimination statutes including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. She was the lead trial attorney for the EEOC on several lengthy trials, including a three-week jury trial in the case EEOC v. JetStream Ground Services, Civ. No. 1:13-cv-02340 (D. Colo.), a failure-to-hire religious discrimination and accommodation case, and a one-month bench trial in EEOC v. JBS USA, LLC, Civ. No. 1:10-cv-02103 (D. Colo.), a case involving hundreds of Somali, Muslim refugees who were harassed because of their race, religion, and national origin, denied religious accommodation, and suspended or terminated from work because of their accommodation requests. The JBS case resulted in a 5.5 million dollar settlement in 2021. Iris has also worked on many large class sexual harassment cases, including several involving fifteen or more victims, and was awarded the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association Case of the Year Award in 2016 for the sexual harassment and national origin discrimination case EEOC and Baltazar et al. v. Vail Run Community Resort Association, Civ. No. 1:15-cv-01592 (D. Colo.).
Iris has been active in seeking to have the LGBTQ community’s rights recognized under federal antidiscrimination laws. At the EEOC, she participated in some of the Commission’s first lawsuits requesting that courts recognize transgender status as falling within the meaning of “sex” under Title VII, including serving as lead attorney on the case EEOC v. Deluxe Financial, Corp., Civ. No. 15-cv-02646 (D. Minn.), a case which resulted in a consent decree recognizing the right of transgender employees to use a restroom commensurate with their gender identity. Iris also filed the EEOC’s first federal lawsuit on behalf of a transgender applicant in Colorado in the case EEOC v. A&E Tire, Co., Civ. No. 1:17-cv-02362 (D. Colo.). For her dedication, passion, and work at the EEOC, Iris received the 2016 Chair’s Honor Award.
Iris has published widely on various legal topics, particularly in electronic discovery in employment discrimination cases. She co-authored the chapter on a plaintiff’s perspective on e-discovery in the American Bar Association (ABA) & Bloomberg BNA treatise WORKPLACE DATA: LAW AND LITIGATION. She is frequently asked by state bar associations and law schools to lecture about sexual harassment and has published articles about various facets of sexual harassment litigation, including how to protect sexual harassment victims from abusive litigation tactics. In the past, Iris was a Fulbright Scholar in Toronto, Canada, comparing Canadian and U.S. legal regimes governing domestic workers, including employment, criminal, and immigration laws. Before law school she worked as a union organizer for the Service Employees International Union.
- EEOC and Clark v. SFM, LLC, No. 21-cv-02600 (D. Colo. 2021) (ADA and Failure to Accommodate) – $280,000 settlement with a consent decree.
- Estate of Elijah Javon McClain et al. v. City of Aurora, Colorado et al., No. 20-cv-02389 (D. Colo. 2020) (Excessive Force) – $15,000,000 settlement.
- Chavez et al. v. Board of County Commissioners of Lake County, et al., No. 18-cv-03249 (D. Colo. 2020) (Sexual Harassment and Retaliation) – $875,000 settlement.
- Flores et al. v. Victory Preparatory Academy et al., 18-cv-02916 (D. Colo. 2018) (represented five students and two parents against charter school and administration for violation of First and Fourteenth Amendment Constitutional rights to freedom of speech and the press) – $425,000 settlement.
- C&P Family Farms Restaurants LLC d/b/a The White Fence Farms et al. v. Katina Gatchis, Case No. 2018cv30797 (Denver Dist. Court 2018) (Race, National Origin, and Religious discrimination in the lease of commercial property) – $675,000 settlement.
- EEOC et al. v. A&E Tire, Co., Civ. No. 1:17-cv-02362 (D. Colo. 2017) (Transgender Sex Discrimination, Failure to Hire) – $60,000 settlement.
- EEOC v. Montrose Memorial Hospital, Civ. No. 1:16-cv-02277 (D. Colo. 2016) (Class-based Age Discrimination in Discharge) – $400,000 settlement with a consent decree.
- EEOC v. The Coleman Co., Civ. No. 1:16-mc-00001 (D. Colo. 2016) (Agency Subpoena Enforcement Action under the ADA and for Nationwide Use of Suspect Separation Agreement).
- EEOC v. Columbine Health Systems et al., Civ. No. 1:15-cv-01597 (D. Colo. 2015) (Class-based National Origin and Race Discrimination in Discharge, including Disparate Impact (Testing) and Disparate Treatment) – $330,000 settlement with a consent decree.
- EEOC et al. v. Deluxe Financial, Corp., Civ. No. 15-cv-02646 (D. Minn. 2015) (Transgender Sex Discrimination, Hostile Work Environment and Disparate Treatment) – $115,000 settlement with a consent decree.
- EEOC and Baltazar et al. v. Vail Run Community Resort Association, Civ. No. 1:15-cv-01592 (D. Colo. 2015) (Class-based Sexual Harassment, National Origin Discrimination and Retaliation) – $1,020,000 settlement with a five-year consent decree, including a bilingual outside monitor.
- EEOC et al. v. Smokin’ Spuds, Inc. d/b/a MountainKing Potatoes, Civ. No. 1:14-02206 (D. Colo. 2014) (Class-based Sexual Harassment) – $450,000 settlement with a consent decree, including a bilingual outside monitor.
- EEOC v. Dish Network, LLC, Civ. No. 1:13-cv-03294 (D. Colo. 2013) (Agency Subpoena Enforcement Action in Nationwide Investigation Under the ADA) – $1,250,000 publicly conciliated settlement.
- EEOC et al. v. BOK Financial Corp. d/b/a Bank of Albuquerque, Civ. No. 11-cv-01132 (D.N.M. 2012) (Sex and Age Discrimination in Discharge) – $230,000 settlement with a consent decree.
- EEOC et al. v. The Original HoneyBaked Ham Company of Georgia, Inc., Civ. No. 1:14-02560 (D. Colo. 2011) (Class-based Sexual Harassment) – $370,000 settlement with consent decree.
- EEOC et al. v. the Spud Seller, Inc., Civ. No. 10-cv-02381 (D. Colo. 2010) (Class-based sexual harassment) – $255,000 settlement with consent decree.
- EEOC et al. v. Maverik County Stores, Civ. No. 10-cv-00212 (D. Wyo. 2010) (ADA discrimination because of HIV-status, including Discharge)– $115,000 settlement with consent decree.
- EEOC et al. v. JBS USA LLC d/b/a JBS Swift & Co., Civ. No. 1:10-cv-02103 (D. Colo. 2010) (Class-based Religious, Race, and National Origin Discrimination and Harassment Case) – $5,500,000 settlement with a consent decree.
5280 Magazine “Top Lawyers” Labor/Employment: Plaintiff (2021-22)
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Chair’s Honor Award (2016)
- Colorado Trial Lawyers Association (CTLA) Case of the Year, EEOC and Baltazar et al. v. Vail Run Resorts (2016)
- Award of Service to the Government of the United States of America (2015)
- United States-Canada Fulbright Scholar, United States Fulbright Commission (2009-2010)
- In Plain Sight: A History of Discrimination in Labor and Employment Laws, Trial Talk, Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, (January – March 2022)
- Infrastructure and Inequality: Gender, Race, and the Country’s Future Economic Growth, The 1891 Blog, Colorado Women’s Bar Association (August 4, 2021)
- “I Can’t Breathe”: What the Coronavirus Pandemic and George Floyd Protests Have Taught Us About Race, The 1891 Blog, Colorado Women’s Bar Association (January 23, 2021)
- Fallout From the Coronavirus: A World Awakens to a New Deadly Threat in the Workplace, The 1891 Blog, Colorado Women’s Bar Association (August 14, 2020)
- Workers’ Rights Q&A: Dealing with Discrimination in the Workplace, Denver Post (May 17, 2020)
- Q&A: What Are My Rights During COVID, Denver Post (May 3, 2020)
- Using the Rules of Evidence in Discovery to Protect Plaintiffs in Sexual Harassment Cases, in Colorado Trial Lawyers Association’s TRIAL TALK (June/July 2019)
- E-Discovery in the Workplace: Employee Perspective, in American Bar Association (ABA) & Bloomberg BNA 2014 Treatise Supplement WORKPLACE DATA: LAW AND LITIGATION (Robert Sprague ed., 2014)
- E-Discovery in the Workplace: Employee Perspective, in American Bar Association (ABA) & Bloomberg BNA Treatise WORKPLACE DATA: LAW AND LITIGATION (Robert Sprague ed., 2013)
- Taming the Digital Demon, A Practical Guide for Managing Aggressive ESI Discovery Requests from Defendants, National Employment Lawyers Association (Working Paper), The Summit for Workers’ Rights (January 2013)
- Rape, Incest, and Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird: On Alabama’s Legal Construction of Gender and Sexuality in the Context of Racial Subordination, Columbia Journal of Gender and Law (Volume 18, Issue 3, 2009)
- Tracing the Contours of Transnational Corporations’ Human Rights Obligations in the Twenty-First Century, Buffalo Human Rights Law Review (Volume 14, 2008)
PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS AND MEMBERSHIPS
- Adjunct Faculty, Strum College of Law, University of Denver,
Denver, Advocacy for Workers: Plaintiffs’ Employment Law (2022)
- Commissioner, Denver Women’s Commission (Chair, Legislative Subcommittee)
- Adjunct Faculty, University of Colorado School of Law,
Boulder, Employment Discrimination (2020)
- One Colorado, Board Member & C4 Chair
- Colorado Wage Theft Task Force, Executive Committee
- Colorado Bar Association Civil Rights Section (Formerly Legislative Liaison, 2018-2019)
- Colorado Bar Association Labor & Employment Section
- Colorado Women’s Bar Association
- Colorado LGBT Bar Association
- Colorado Trial Lawyers Association
- Lawyers’ Civil Rights Coalition
- Colorado Plaintiff Employment Lawyers Association
SELECT ACADEMIC LECTURING AND SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS
- Roundtable on the Changing Employment Law Landscape in a Post-Covid Era, Labor & Employment Section of the Colorado Bar Association (October 21, 2021)
- Covid-19 in the Workplace: An Updated Perspective for Employees and Employers, Lawline Online Course (May 18, 2021)
Cultivating LGBTQ Inclusive Law Firms, Colorado Bar Association and the Center on Colfax, Webinar (Dec. 8, 2020)
- Advocating for Employees in the Workplace During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Lawline Online Course, (Sept. 18, 2020)
- The Meaning of Sex – Sexual Orientation & Transgender Status Under Title VII, Labor and Employment Relations Association, Rocky Mountain Chapter (September 15, 2020)
- Employee Rights During COVID-19, University of Denver Webinar (June 22, 2020)
- Electronically Stored Information, Colorado Trial Lawyers Association (June 18, 2020)
- Small Law Firm Accessibility and Civil Rights Compliance: ADA, CADA, and More, Solo-Small Firm Institute, Solo-Small Firm Section of the Colorado Bar Association (June 12, 2020)
- Electronically Stored Information in Civil Rights Cases, Civil Rights Section of the Colorado Bar Association (March 12, 2020)
- Employment Discrimination Law: Supreme Court and Circuit Court Update, Civil Rights and Labor & Employment Sections of the Colorado Bar Association (November 12, 2019)
- Federal Employment Discrimination Laws (LGBTQ Employees and Title VII), Colorado LGBT Bar Association (October 15, 2019)
- Investigation and Discovery in Sexual Assault and Harassment Cases, in Civil Justice for Victims of Sexual Harassment & Assault in the #MeToo Era, Colorado Trial Lawyers Association (September 13, 2019)
- Broader Perspectives on #MeToo – Thoughts on Hostile Work Environments from Inside and Outside the EEOC, Employment Law Conference, Colorado Bar Association (September 2018)
- Sexual History Questions Under FRE 412, PELA Brown Bag CLE (February 2017)
EDUCATION & EXPERIENCE
- University of California, Berkeley School of Law, Juris Doctorate (2008)
- Tufts University, Massachusetts, Bachelor of Arts, English & Women’s Studies (2002)
- New York
- U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
- Spanish (proficient)