Workplace discrimination can make it impossible to do your job. An employer may even illegally terminate you or refuse to offer you a job in the first place based on a protected status. When you’re mistreated at work, you may rightfully wonder if you can sue for workplace discrimination.

Colorado has strong laws that protect victims of employment discrimination. Here’s how to know if you can sue for workplace discrimination in Colorado from our Denver wrongful termination lawyers.


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Can I Sue for Workplace Discrimination in Colorado?

Yes, you can sue for workplace discrimination in Colorado if you are the victim of discrimination. You’re the victim of discrimination in Colorado if your employer takes an adverse action, makes the work environment unmanageable, or otherwise treats you differently because of a protected class. In Colorado, the protected classes include race, sexual orientation, and other groups. All Colorado employees have rights.

Does Colorado Have Anti-Discrimination Laws?

Yes, Colorado has anti-discrimination laws. It’s illegal for an employer to discriminate against any employee based on a protected characteristic. When an employee believes that they’re the victim of discrimination, the Colorado Civil Rights Division and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission can step in to enforce the law. The victim may also receive damages in the form of financial compensation.

Can I File a Workplace Discrimination Lawsuit in Colorado?

In Colorado, you can file a workplace discrimination case if you meet the following requirements:

  1. You have been discriminated against. Discrimination can be any kind of retaliation, disparate treatment, demotion, or firing. A hostile work environment can also be retaliation.
  2. The discrimination is based on a protected characteristic. Colorado and federal law both define protected categories. Employers can treat employees and applicants differently, but they can’t discriminate against them based on defined, protected characteristics.
  3. You file the complaint with the right agency when the discrimination occurs. You start a workplace discrimination case by filing a complaint with the appropriate government agency. For businesses with less than 15 employees, you must file with the Colorado Civil Rights Division (CCRD). If the company has at least 15 employees, either the CCRD or the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission can take the complaint.
  4. You file the complaint on time. A victim of discrimination must file their complaint within time limits. You have 180 days from the date of the discrimination to file with the CCRD. You have 300 days to file with the EEOC.
  5. The government sends you a notice of rights. You can’t start your lawsuit until you have a notice of rights from the CCRD or the EEOC. Once their investigation is complete and the case is closed, they issue you a Dismissal and Notice of Rights or a Notice of Right to Sue. Once you have this notice, you can file your lawsuit.
  6. It’s within 90 days of the notice letter. When you get your notice from the CCRD or the EEOC, the clock is ticking on getting your lawsuit filed. You have 90 days from the date of your Dismissal and Notice of Rights or Notice of Right to Sue letter to initiate your lawsuit. It’s critical to take the right steps at the right time and file your workplace discrimination claim within the appropriate windows.

What Are the Protected Classes in Colorado?

The protected classes in Colorado are:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Creed
  • National origin
  • Ancestry
  • Sex
  • Age
  • Sexual orientation
  • Physical disability
  • Mental disability

If you’re the victim of employment discrimination based on a protected class, you may file a complaint and bring a claim for compensation.

What Is Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act?

Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act is Colorado Revised Statute 24-34-401. Colorado’s Sexual Orientation Employment Discrimination Act is also part of the state’s anti-discrimination laws. In addition, federal anti-discrimination laws apply in the State of Colorado.

Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act

Types of Employment Discrimination in Colorado

The types of employment discrimination in Colorado include:

  • Intimidation
  • Threats
  • Harassment
  • Coercion
  • Blacklisting
  • Damage
  • Demotion
  • Refusal to hire
  • Termination
  • Making life difficult at work
  • Changing the schedule as a punishment
  • Treating one employee different than others

What Constitutes a Hostile Work Environment in Colorado?

In Colorado, a hostile work environment is an environment that’s difficult or uncomfortable to work in. It might be intimidating or retaliatory. Whether a work environment is hostile depends on the specific situation. It’s a question of fact. The standard is whether a reasonable person would find the environment hostile.

Where Do I File a Complaint Against My Employer in Colorado?

You file a complaint against your employer in Colorado with the Colorado Civil Rights Division (CCRD) or the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). If your employer has less than 15 employees, you file with the CCRD. If your employer has 15 or more employees, you may file with either the CCRD or the EEOC.

What Can I Win in a Workplace Discrimination Case in Colorado?

You can win economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages in a Colorado workplace discrimination case. The court may also award you additional amounts to cover the cost of your attorney. What you receive depends on the exact circumstances of your case.

Is It Always Workplace Discrimination to Treat Someone With a Disability Differently?

No, it’s not always workplace discrimination to treat someone with a disability differently in the workplace. If a disability prevents someone from doing the essential duties of the job, the employer doesn’t have to hire the person for the job. The employer must provide reasonable accommodations to enable a person with a disability to do a job, but they don’t have to employ someone who can’t perform the essential functions of a job even if it’s because of a disability.

Contact Our Denver Attorneys for Wrongful Termination

Have you suffered from workplace discrimination or wrongful termination? Are you wondering what your legal rights are as an employee? At Bachus & Schanker, LLC, we’re Denver wrongful termination lawyers. We’re passionate about helping you exercise your rights.

If you think that you might be the victim of workplace discrimination, contact us right away. We’ll help you take all of the necessary steps to get the justice that you deserve. Your call is free and confidential. We are conveniently located at 5 Colorado locations near you in DenverFort CollinsColorado Springs, Aurora, and Englewood. Our attorneys are ready to serve you and fight for the compensation you deserve. Call us today.

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Written and Legally Reviewed By: Kyle Bachus

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Kyle is a member of the Colorado and Florida Bar associations and has served on the Board of Directors of the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association for more than twenty years in total. Over the years, Kyle has achieved justice for many clients. He has served on numerous committees and repeatedly won recognition from his peers at both the state and national level. He is proud of the role he has played in the passage of state and national legislation to protect consumers and is a frequent speaker and guest lecturer.