Joan M. Bechtold

Joan M. Bechtold

  • Attorney at Law
  • 303-865-3733
  • 650 S. Cherry St., Ste. 700, Denver, CO 80246
  • Discrimination ● Retaliation ● Harassment ● Workplace Sexual Harassment and Assault ● Disability and Reasonable Accommodation ● Family Medical Leave Act ● Wrongful Termination ● Severance Agreements ● Unemployment ● Federal and State Law Claims ● Whistleblower Claims

Professional Experience

Joan M. Bechtold was admitted to the Colorado Bar in 1993. She has practiced employment law since 1994, and is a founding member of Sweeney & Bechtold, LLC.

During her legal career, she has successfully represented employees in numerous discrimination and wrongful discharge cases before federal and state courts and administrative agencies. Joan has been extensively involved in developing new legal rights and remedies for employees at the appellate level and is a frequent author and lecturer on a variety of employment law topics.

Joan has been an AV-Preeminent rated attorney by Martindale Hubbell since 2003, reflecting that her peers have ranked her at the highest level of professional excellence.

Joan has been recognized as a Colorado Super Lawyer in the area of Employment Law, an honor limited to five percent of Colorado attorneys.

In 2019, Joan also received the Richard N. Doyle CLE Award of Excellence for her dedication and outstanding contributions to CBA-CLE publications and programs.


  • University of Colorado, Boulder – B.A. with distinction in English Literature and M.A. with distinction in Comparative Literature.
  • Denver College of Law – Law Degree (1993)
  • General Editor – University of Denver Law Review
  • Order of St. Ives (Honorary Legal Society)
  • Outstanding Graduate – National Association of Women Lawyers
  • Law Clerk to the Honorable Mary J. Mullarkey, Chief Justice, Colorado Supreme Court

Professional Affiliations

  • Member, National Employment Lawyer’s Association (NELA)
    • Member, NELA’s National Amicus Advisory Council
  • Member, Plaintiff’s Employment Lawyer’s Association
    • Former Executive Board Member, Vice-President and Co-President
    • Current Chair of Amicus Committee
  • Member, Colorado Women’s Bar Association
  • Member, Colorado Bar Association

    • Member of Amicus Brief Committee
    • Former Co-Chair of Colorado Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law Section
  • Member, Faculty of Federal Advocates
  • Member, Denver Bar Association
  • Fellow, Colorado Bar Foundation (an honor limited to five percent of Colorado lawyers, for “outstanding dedication to the welfare of the community, the traditions of the profession and the maintenance and advancement of the objectives of the Colorado Bar Association.")

Publications and Speaking Engagements

Books and Articles

Family Responsibilities Discrimination, Employee Rights Litigation: Pleading and Practice (December 15, 2009 Supp)
Co-author of Employment at Will and Contract and Promissory Estoppel Claims, The Practitioner’s Guide to Colorado Employment Law
Co-author of New Age Employee Compensation Issues, Colorado Lawyer, June 2000
Intentional Torts and Workers’ Compensation Exclusivity in Sexual Harassment Cases, Trial Talk, June 2000
Co-author of Enforcing Oral Promises of Job Security in Colorado, Trial Talk, June 1996


“Case Law and Legislative Update," Colorado Employment Law Conference, CLE in Colorado, Inc. (Recurring annually)
“Case Law and Legislative Update," Plaintiffs’ Employment Lawyers’ Association (Recurring annually)
“Employment Law 101: A Primer,” Faculty of Federal Advocates (November 2015)
“Emerging Trends in Age Discrimination Cases: Discrimination Against Older Workers with Eldercare Responsibilities,” presented in ADEA Update for the Employment Law Fall Update. CLE in Colorado, Inc.
“Pragmatic Brief Writing,” National Employment Lawyers Association Annual Convention (June 2014)
“MS in the Workplace: Employment and Legal Issues,” MS in the Workplace Seminar, Rocky Mountain MS Center (March 2012)
“Understanding Your Legal Rights in the Workplace," MS in the Workplace Seminar, Rocky Mountain MS Center (September 2010, September 2013)
“Colorado State Employment & Labor Law Developments," 2009 Labor and Employment Law Conference, LERA Rocky Mountain Chapter (Oct. 2009)
“Americans with Disabilities Act…A New Frontier: Litigating Disability Claims Under the ADA Amendments Act of 2008," Colorado Trial Lawyers Association Annual Convention (Aug. 2009)
“How Much is Enough? The Evolution and Devolution of the Harassment and Hostile Work Environment Threshold," National Employment Lawyers Association Annual Convention (June 2009)
“Recent Developments in Harassment Cases," CLE in Colorado, Inc. (Sept. 2008)
“Evidentiary Law in Employment Cases," 26th Annual Multi-State Labor & Employment Law Seminar (June 2008)
“Emerging Claims Involving Sex-Based Stereotyping in the Workplace," National Employment Lawyers Association Annual Convention (June 2008)
“FMLA – Statutory Changes and Proposed Regulations," Employment Law: Hot Topics and Core Skills, CLE in Colorado, Inc. (May 2008)
“Family and Medical Leave Act Issues," Colorado Employment Law Conference, CLE in Colorado Inc. (Feb. 2008)
“Sex-Based Stereotyping Claims in the Workplace," Colorado Women’s Bar Association Annual Convention (May 2007)
“The Year in Review: A Review of Recent Employment Cases and Developments," Colorado Trial Lawyers Association Annual Convention (June 2006)
“The Year in Review: A Review of Recent Employment Cases and Developments," Current Legal and Practical Issues in Employment Law, Colorado Trial Lawyers Association (Nov. 2005)
“Hostile Work Environment-More Than Sexual Harassment," EEOC Technical Assistance Program Seminar (Sept. 2004).
“Ten Common Mistakes Made in Workplace Investigations – The Plaintiff’s Perspective," CLE in Colorado, Inc. (Mar. 2001)
“Recent Developments in Sexual Harassment Law," Colorado Trial Lawyers Association Annual Convention (Aug. 2000)
“Update on Colorado Tort Law," CLE in Colorado, Inc. (May 2000)
“Emerging Trends in Colorado Tort Law," CLE in Colorado Inc. (Mar. 2000)
“Strategies for Winning Employment Cases Before and After a Law Suit is Filed," Colorado Trial Lawyers Association (1999)
“Sex Discrimination-Beyond Sexual Harassment," Employment Law Institute Fall Workplace Law Seminar (Oct.1999)
“Sexual Harassment Law After Ellerth and Faragher," Colorado Trial Lawyers Association (Oct. 1998)