Iris Halpern is an attorney at Rathod Mohamedbhai LLC. Her practice focuses on employment discrimination and constitutional civil rights litigation. 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’ 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 Swift & Co., Civ. No. 1:10-cv-02103 (D. Colo), a case involving hundreds of Somali, Muslim refugees who were denied religious accommodation and were suspended or terminated from work because of their accommodation requests. 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 anti discrimination 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. She was also a Fulbright Scholar in Toronto, Canada, comparing Canadian and U.S. legal regimes in employment, criminal, and immigration law to formulate best practices for migrant domestic workers.
Earlier in her legal career, Iris worked as a legal services attorney for Legal Services of Central New York and did human rights advocacy at the Human Rights Project with the Urban Justice Center in New York City. Before law school, Iris travelled to over a dozen states as a union organizer with the Service Employees International Union, working on grassroots organizing campaigns with employees who wished to form unions.
EDUCATION & EXPERIENCE
- University of California, Berkeley School of Law, Juris Doctorate (2008)
- Tufts University, Massachusetts, Bachelor of Arts, English & Women’s Studies (2002)
- Chavez et al. v. Board of County Commissioners of Lake County, et al, Civ. No. 18-cv-03249 (D. Colo 2020) (Sexual Harassment and Retaliation) – $875,000 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. 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 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 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. Dish Network, LLC, Civ. No. 1:13-cv-03294 (D. Colo. 2013) (Agency Subpoena Enforcement Action in Nationwide Investigation Under the ADA and $1,250,000 publicly conciliated settlement).
- 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)
- 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 (Working Paper), National Employment Lawyers Association, 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)
- Increasing Healthcare Coverage for Women of Color in the Workplace: A proposal for Legislative Change in Labor Law (Student Note), Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice, (Volume 21, 2006)
PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS AND MEMBERSHIPS
- 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
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, LGBT Working Group (Former)
ACADEMIC LECTURING AND SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS
- Employment Discrimination Law: Supreme Court and Circuit Court Update, Civil Rights and Labor & Employment Sections if 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)
- Hot Topics in Employment Law, EEOC Updates, Colorado Bar Association CLE (December 2016)
- HIREDenver, Criminal Conviction History and Employment, Community Panel (2016)
- Citizens Academy, Employment Discrimination, Town of Vail Police Department Community Training (2016)
- Employment Discrimination and Your Rights, El Centro Humanitario, Training for Day Laborers (2016)
- Employment Discrimination Law and Human Trafficking, 7th Annual Human Trafficking Symposium, Human Trafficking Task Force of Southern Colorado (October 2014)
- LGBTQ Employment Discrimination, Training for the City and County of Denver (2013)
- Spanish (proficient)
- New York
- U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York