Q: What is discrimination under the Colorado Civil Rights law?
A: In the areas of employment, housing, and public accommodations, discrimination is the unfair treatment of an individual or group because of their protected class. Retaliation is also a prohibited discriminatory act, where adverse action is taken against an individual because of his or her participation in a protected activity (for example: speaking in opposition to a discriminatory act, filing a discrimination complaint, or participating in a discrimination investigation or lawsuit).
Q: What is a protected class?
A: The Colorado Civil Rights laws were written to protect groups of people who historically have been or who might be discriminated against. These protected classes include Disability, Race, Color, National Origin, Ancestry, Sexual Orientation, Sex, Pregnancy (employment only), Creed, Religion (employment and housing only), Age (at least 40 years of age; employment only), Marriage to a Co-Worker (employment only), Marital Status (housing and public accommodations only) and Familial Status (housing only).
Q: When filing a complaint (charge of discrimination), what are the filing deadlines?
A: If you are filing a charge of discrimination with the Civil Rights Division regarding employment, you must file a charge within six (6) months of the alleged discriminatory act. In regards to housing, the deadline to file is within one year of the alleged discriminatory act. In public accommodations, the charge must be filed within sixty (60) days of the alleged discriminatory act. The filing of the complaint intake packet does not constitute the filing of the formal charge, therefore it must be submitted in time for you to file the signed and dated Charge of Discrimination.
CCRD Complaint Process
- Q: What is the process in a nutshell?
A: The Civil Rights Division’s complaint process starts when a Charging Party (complainant) submits an "intake packet". The Colorado Civil Rights Division (CCRD or the Division) has implemented a new civil rights case filing and management system entitled "CaseConnect" to allow for electronic submission of intake questionnaires, responses to requests for information and evidence, and rebuttals, as well as case management and case status tracking.
The Division reviews each intake packet gathers information and verifies jurisdiction sufficient to draft a charge of discrimination. By law, a charge of discrimination must be filed within a specific period of time from the date of the alleged discriminatory act. In employment cases, the filing deadline is six months; in housing cases, one year; and in public accommodations cases, sixty days. After filing, the parties may agree to mediate. Mediation provides the parties with an opportunity to resolve a claim. If a settlement is not reached, the case will be assigned to an Investigator. The Investigator analyzes all information relevant to the case, conducts interviews, and requests information as needed. The Respondent submits a response to the request for information, and the Charging Party may submit a rebuttal if they choose. After the investigation is complete, the Division Director or designee issues a Letter of Determination that states the facts of the case and the analysis of the issues. If the Director finds no probable cause of discrimination, the case is dismissed but may be appealed to the Civil Rights Commission. If probable cause is found, the Division will hold a mandatory mediation (conciliation). If the case is not settled, the Commission decides whether to take the case to a public hearing, except in housing cases which are automatically set for hearing.
- Q: Do I need an attorney?
A: An attorney is not required to file a charge of discrimination with the Division. Unrepresented Charging Parties (i.e. those without attorneys) are treated the same as those with attorneys; however, retaining an attorney may still be of advantage to you in analyzing the evidence presented to you by the CCRD, in providing your own evidence or written statement, and advising you as to all recourses available to you. CCRD does not provide legal advice or attorneys to either party.
- Q: I want to make an offer to settle my case. Do I need to contact the other party?
A: While you are free to interact with the other party as you wish, the CCRD provides neutral mediators to assist parties who mutually agree to attempt to resolve their differences through mediation. Parties may request the opportunity to mediate after we have received a signed and dated Complaint of Discrimination. Mediation may result in a monetary and/or non-monetary resolution that can benefit and reduce costs to all parties.
- Q: The other party is contacting me! Are they allowed to do this?
A: Filing a claim with the Division CCRD does not preclude the Charging Party or the Respondent from contacting you unless such contact is otherwise unlawful. You may ask the other party to cease contacting you, or if you are represented by an attorney, you may ask that the other party contact your attorney exclusively.
- Q: The deadline for the Respondent to provide a response has passed. What happens now?
A: Oftentimes, extensions of time for the submission of evidence or the position statement will be granted, and notice of such extensions may not be relayed to you immediately. If you have questions about the status of your case, you may contact CCRD or the Investigator assigned to your case.
- Q: I have witnesses to the discriminatory actions that the Respondent took against me. What can I do? What if they do not wish to speak with you?
A: If you have witnesses to the discriminatory actions that the Respondent took again you, you can contact your Investigator assigned to your case, and provide specifics about those witnesses. You also have an opportunity to provide witnesses on the intake packet and during the intake interview.
- Q: Is the information that I send you kept confidential?
A: Partially. CCRD will not divulge any information we receive from the Charging Party or the Respondent to the public; however, the Charging Party or Respondent may view or may be sent some or all of the information or documentation that you provide during the course of the investigation. Conversely, you are entitled to view any evidence or documentation that the other party provides as part of its response or rebuttal. Unlike some other investigations, CCRD’s process is transparent as applied to the Charging Party and the Respondent, thus your documentation may not be withheld or kept “secret.” If a case is set for hearing by the Commission, the information in the case may at that time be disclosed to the public.
- Q: What are some best practices for employers to avoid discrimination charges?
A: The CCRD recommends some practices to avoid a complaint of discrimination, including but not limited to, periodic civil rights protections and responsibilities training, proper display of civil rights informational posters, review and consistent application of policies and procedures, dissemination of specific instructions on filing a complaint of discrimination, clear communication of zero tolerance for any form of discrimination, role model respectful conduct promoting equity and diversity, and timely and confidential treatment of all concerns of discrimination.
- Q: Does the CCRD provide translation/interpretation services?
A: CCRD provides intake packets in Spanish; interpretation for mediation and investigation, etc. CCRD DOES NOT provide the translation of documents e.g. rebuttal, position statement, or settlement agreement. Persons with disabilities who require ASL translation or interpretation services or similar services necessary because of a disability can make reasonable accommodation requests by contacting the CCRD at 303-894-2997 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org