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Colorado Civil Rights Laws

The rights of all people to be treated equally under the law are referred to as civil rights, which generally serve to protect minorities and other traditionally marginalized populations from the tyranny of the majority. Civil rights are mostly protected by federal law, most notably Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but state laws often provide additional protections. For example, a growing number of states protect the civil rights of gays and lesbians in the absence of federal protections.

What Are Colorado's Civil Rights Laws?

In addition to federal protections (which apply to workers in all states), the Colorado Civil Rights law also prohibits discrimination against individuals on the basis of sexual orientation and marriage to a co-worker. These protections extend to employment, housing, and public accommodations. The state's sexual orientation protections extend to bisexuals and transgendered individuals as well as gays and lesbians. As of Jan. 1, 2015, plaintiffs in employment-related civil rights cases may claim punitive damages.

Code references and additional information about Colorado's civil rights laws can be found in the following chart. See FindLaw's Employment Discrimination and Discrimination (Civil Rights) sections for more articles and resources

Code Section 24-34-301, et seq. (Generally)
Discrimination Illegal on the Basis of: Race, color, religion, creed, national origin, ancestry, sex, age, sexual orientation (including transgender status), physical or mental disability, marriage to a coworker and retaliation for engaging in a protected activity
Agency Civil Rights Commission
Administrative Preemption 24-34-305: Yes, with exception
Private Action Permitted? 24-34-306: Yes
Attorney Fees Recoverable by Plaintiff? Yes
Statute of Limitations 24-34-306: variable


Note: State laws are always subject to change, often through the passage of new legislation, ballot initiatives, or higher court rulings. We make every effort to keep these pages up to date, but you may also want to contact a Colorado employment attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

How Do I File a Colorado Civil Rights Claim?

The state of Colorado requires individuals to file employment discrimination claims within six months of the alleged act. The deadline is one year for housing claims and 60 days for public accommodations claims. To start the process, you will need to file an intake packet, which will be reviewed by the Colorado Civil Rights Division.

Research the Law

Colorado Civil Rights Laws: Related Resources

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