The Colorado department of human services (department) operates numerous facilities in the state that provide direct care to vulnerable people, including veterans and their families, youth in rehabilitation programs, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and people with mental health diagnoses. Current law specifies when an employee of the department (employee) will be suspended or dismissed after being charged with specified criminal offenses. However, the department has encountered difficulty in suspending, dismissing, or otherwise disciplining employees through the administrative process when the employee was involved in an egregious incident of mistreatment of a vulnerable person but was not convicted of a criminal offense. The bill specifies that:
- In considering a disciplinary action against an employee for engaging in mistreatment, abuse, neglect, or exploitation, against a vulnerable person, the appointing authority shall give weight to the safety of vulnerable persons over the interests of any other person.
- If the appointing authority finds that the employee has engaged in mistreatment, abuse, neglect, or exploitation against a vulnerable person, the appointing authority may take such disciplinary action as the appointing authority deems appropriate, up to and including termination, taking into consideration the harm or risk of harm to vulnerable persons created by the employee's actions.
(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)