Colorado's Labor Laws for Racial Discrimination


Area of Law: 

With the recent amendments to the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA), Colorado now has some of the toughest laws in the country when it comes to racial discrimination in the workplace.  CADA makes it a crime for employers to discriminate based on the following things: sexual orientation, religion, disability, sex, age, race, color, national origin, and ancestry.  This comprehensive law acts as a supplement to the already stringent federal civil rights laws that prohibit racial discrimination by employers. This means that as a worker in Colorado there are a lot of avenues open to you if you feel you have been discriminated against and want to file a formal complaint.


The Colorado Civil Rights Division (CCRD) handles cases of employment-based racial discrimination at the state level, while the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) handles cases filed at the federal level.  These two agencies work together to process complaints, so it's not necessary to file with both.  All you have to do is file at one office and then tell the person who is handling your case that you want to cross-file your complaint and it will be taken care of.


When it comes down to the question of whether you should file your case at the state or federal level, your lawyer can advise you as to which would be more appropriate for your case. In general, filing at the state versus federal level has a lot to do with the size of the company.  The EEOC only handles cases where the company has 15 or more employees, so if the company you work or worked for is smaller than that, you'll want to file with the CCRD.  Regardless of your case, it may be more convenient for you to file with the CCRD anyway and just get them to cross-file the complaint. The CCRD has several offices throughout the state of Colorado, and they can start the investigation process more quickly than the EEOC.  In some cities, there are even local municipal anti-discrimination laws, and you may be able to file with your local agency to get your claim processed even faster.


The most important thing when filing a racial discrimination complaint is not to wait around for a convenient time.  If you delay in filing, you may miss an important deadline, which can lead to having your complaint dismissed by the court.  The CCRD has a statute of limitations of 300 days from the date of the discriminatory incident, while the EEOC has an even tighter limit of 180 days.  However, that doesn't mean that you have six months to sit around and do nothing.  It is important to get the ball rolling on your case as soon as you can because there may be other legal deadlines that you are not aware of. Once you file your complaint, you will be advised as to how you can proceed with your subsequent lawsuit or settlement proceedings.