The Rocky Mountain State of Colorado boasts a diverse economy based on both traditional industries (like beer production and cattle farming) and hi-tech industries, such as defense and advanced machining. Colorado houses numerous facilities critical to the US military, including NORAD and Buckley Air Force Base; at the same time, the state offers abundant wilderness treasures, including nearly 25 million acres of Federal national parkland.
CO’s total population (according to the most recent census) is approaching five million; and the annual state domestic product exceeds $240 billion. The sheer diversity of landscapes, lifestyles, and “microeconomies” may be responsible for Colorado’s relatively high standard of living and general resilience in the face of the flagging national economy.
The state agency that oversees employment discrimination is called the Colorado Civil Rights Division (CCRD). Together with the Colorado Rights Commission, the CCRD safeguards citizens, administers measures to fight discrimination in the workplace, and strives to ensure that all Coloradoans get equal protection under the law.
The CCRD also works in conjunction with federal agencies, like the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), pursuant to Colorado’s “anti-discrimination” statutes 24-34-402, 24-34-502 and 24-34-602. The CCRD employs agents known as Compliance Investigators to enforce anti-discrimination law and administer compliance measures.
In August 2007, the state legislature passed the Colorado Anti Discrimination Act (CADA), which expanded and fortified workplace anti-discrimination protection. Specifically, it banned discrimination on the basis of religion and sexual orientation. In May 2008, Colorado Governor Ritter signed into law an expansion of CADA, known as Senate Bill 200, which extended these anti-discrimination protections into other arenas, such as housing and public accommodations.
Colorado law currently prohibits discrimination in the workplace, with respect to a person’s sexual orientation, marital status, gender, ancestry, race, color, national origin, age, and disability. Additionally, all employees in Colorado are legally protected from being subjected to a hostile work environment. According to the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS), a hostile work environment is an atmosphere in which employees feel discriminated against or harassed.
Sexual harassment is covered under these laws and includes being pressured to submit to any unwelcome sexual advances or solicitations for sexual favors in return for opportunities and employment benefits. It can also involve any other form of sexual conduct that interferes with an employee’s ability to properly perform duties and tasks.
The new Job Protection and Civil Rights Enforcement Act of 2013 – an amendment to the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act – was introduced on May 6, 2013, and it will now affect all cases arising on January 1, 2015, and after. Beginning with these cases, plaintiffs can pursue both economic and non-economic damages when their employer is found guilty of engaging in workplace discrimination. According to the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, relief may include (1) reinstatement or rehiring; (2) front pay; and (3) any type of equitable relief the court considers appropriate.
If you have experienced problems in your workplace, there are laws protecting your rights as an employee. Click here for help finding a local lawyer in your area.