Employment Discrimination in Colorado

Any employee in the state of Colorado who has experienced being discriminated at work may be eligible to file a claim for compensation against their employer.

Workplace discrimination in Colorado is illegal, either for employees or applicants for a job if the individual is a member of a protected class. Protected classes include membership of a religion, race, gender, disability, ethnicity or age over 40 years.

Federal employment workplace discrimination laws apply to employers that have 15 or more employees, and 20 or more when it comes to age discrimination. There is no minimum number of employees required for Colorado claims of workplace discrimination based on race or ethnicity.

What kind of discrimination laws are in place in Colorado?          

Colorado has what is called the Colorado Fair Employment Practices Act, which makes it illegal for an employer to conduct workplace discrimination based on the following categories: race, religion, color, creed, ancestry, national origin, sex, age, sexual orientation, and mental or physical disability.

The statute covers workplace discrimination for businesses which employ less than 15 employees. It allows victims in a workplace discrimination claim to be awarded both economic, non-economic, punitive damages and attorney’s fees from employers.

Who is protected by federal and state laws in Colorado?

The federal laws that protect employees from discrimination are based on race, disability, age, sex, gender and religion which are called protected classes.

The Colorado Fair Employment Practices Act makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate in the workplace based on the employee’s race, religion, color, sex, creed, age, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, and mental or physical disability.

What employers are covered by discrimination laws in Colorado?

Some of the federal anti-discrimination laws that affect Colorado employers are:

  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits employment discrimination for workers aged 40 years or older. The coverage of the ADEA is similar to Title VII except that a private employer needs 20 employees to be covered.
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits disability discrimination in public services and accommodations.
  • 42 U.S.C. section 1981 federal law which prohibits race discrimination in all contracts, which not only includes employment but also all other types of contracts as well.
  • Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination due to an employee’s or job applicant’s race, color, sex, religion or national origin. This law is applicable to both public employers and private employers who employ at least 15 employees, employment agencies, apprenticeship programs and unions.

The Colorado workplace discrimination statute covers smaller workplaces where employers have a workforce of between 1 and 14 employees. The EEOC enforces federal law, which is applicable to employers with 15 or more employees or 20 when it comes to age discrimination.

Which Colorado agencies regulate these laws? 

The Colorado state administrative agency is called the Colorado Civil Rights Division (CCRD) which is responsible for solving cases of state workplace discrimination.

How do I file a discrimination claim in Colorado?

A discrimination claim may be filed either with the state administrative agency, the Colorado Civil Rights Division (CCRD), or with the federal administrative agency, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

These two agencies operate a work-share agreement so that the two agencies cooperate with each other when processing workplace discrimination claims in Colorado. 

It is not a requirement to file a claim with both agencies as long as the claimant requests that there is cross-filing of the claim with the other agency. Some Colorado employment lawyers suggest filing a claim with the CCRD first for any workplace discrimination claims as there are several CCRD offices in the state so claims are processes much faster.  

How long do I have to file an employment discrimination claim in Colorado?

Under state law, you need to file a claim with the CCRD (or cross-file with the EEOC) within 180 days of the workplace discrimination taking place. Under federal law, you need to file a claim with the EEOC, or cross-file with the CCRD, within 300 days from the date of the workplace discrimination.

How do I get help filing an employment discrimination claim in Colorado?

If you have not been successful with filing the workplace discrimination claim with either the CCRD or the EEOC you should seek help from an employment lawyer who will file a workplace discrimination claim in court against your employer.

You will need to provide your lawyer with sufficient evidence that proves you have suffered workplace discrimination. Fill out a free case evaluation today.

Additional Resources: