Employment Discrimination in Colorado

Employment discrimination against protected classes is illegal in Colorado.

Federal and state law prohibit Colorado employers from discriminating against employees based on certain characteristics, such as race or religion. (To learn more, see our page on employment discrimination and harassment.)

What Are the Protected Classes in Colorado?

In all 50 states, federal law makes it illegal to discriminate based on:

  • race
  • color
  • national origin
  • religion
  • sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions)
  • disability
  • age (40 and older)
  • citizenship status, and
  • genetic information.

In addition, Colorado state law also prohibits discrimination based on:

  • race
  • color
  • national origin
  • ancestry
  • religion or creed
  • sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions)
  • disability: Physical, mental, or learning
  • age (40 and older)
  • sexual orientation (including perceived sexual orientation)
  • AIDS/HIV
  • lawful conduct outside of work
  • mental illness
  • military status
  • transgender status, and
  • marital status or civil union partnership with a coworker (with some exceptions).

Several cities in the U.S. have their own laws protecting additional characteristics or extending protection to more employees. Contact your local government to learn more.

Which Colorado Employers Are Subject to the Antidiscrimination Laws?

Federal antidiscrimination laws apply to Colorado employers with 15 or more employees, with the following exceptions:

  • age discrimination (employers with 20 or more employees)
  • citizenship status discrimination (employers with four or more employees), and
  • equal pay for men and women (all employers).

In Colorado, the state's antidiscrimination law applies to all employers—except for discrimination based on marital status or civil union partnership with a coworker, which applies to employers with 25 or more employees.

What Government Agency Regulates Workplace Discrimination in Colorado?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency that regulates workplace discrimination. You can contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by calling 800-669-4000 or check out its website at www.eeoc.gov. The website will help you locate an EEOC field office in Colorado.

The Civil Rights Division enforces state antidiscrimination law in Colorado. You can contact the Civil Rights Division at 303-894-2997 or 800-262-4845 or go to its website.

For more information on employment discrimination, see The Manager's Legal Handbook, by attorneys Lisa Guerin and Amy DelPo (Nolo).

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