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Frequently Asked Questions

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In the areas of employment, housing, and public accommodations, discrimination is unfair treatment of an individual or group because of their protected class (characteristic). 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 (i.e. speaking in opposition to a discriminatory act, filing a discrimination complaint, or participation in a discrimination investigation or lawsuit).

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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 (includes pregnancy), Creed, Religion (employment and housing only), Age (employment only), Marriage to a Co-Worker (employment only), Marital Status (housing and public accommodations only), and Familial Status (housing only).

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Until January 1, 2015, Colorado law defines individuals in the protected class of "Age" as  those between the ages of 40 and 69; after January 1, 2015, Colorado law has changed the definition of the protected class of "Age" to those individuals whose age is at least 40 -- the upper age limit (of 69) is removed.

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“Sexual orientation,” pursuant to the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act, means heterosexuality, homosexuality (lesbian or gay), bisexuality, and transgender (which means having a gender identity or gender expression that differs from societal expectations based on gender assigned at birth). The Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act has been expanded to include prohibition for acts of discrimination against a person based upon that person’s sexual orientation to the list of protected classes in the area of employment, housing, and public accommodations.

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If you are filing a discrimination complaint/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. And 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.

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The Civil Rights Division’s complaint process starts when a Charging Party (complainant) submits an intake packet. Visit our website for a packet or contact us to request one. 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. 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.

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In this case, you may contact the Division before filling out any of the paperwork and we will inform you whether we have jurisdiction over your claim. If we believe that we do not, we will make our best attempt to refer you to the correct resource.

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The Division’s process can be lengthy and requires patience from you, the Charging Party. From beginning to end, it can take from six months to a year, or more. You have the right to be notified when our jurisdiction on your case will cease. You also have the responsibility to keep track of the age of your case. You may initiate a motion for extension of time to preserve the Division’s jurisdiction, which the staff will file.

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The Division is a neutral, third-party, state agency that conducts investigations, mediations and conciliations. It does not and cannot represent you in any legal action. If you wish to be represented, you may contact an attorney.

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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 evidence presented to you by the Division, in providing your own evidence or written statement, and advising you as to all recourses available to you.

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While you may request an in-person interview with a member of the intake or investigative staff, not all requests are granted based on the substantial caseload of the Division. Walk-in interviews without appointments will not be conducted.

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While you are free to interact with the Respondent as you wish, the Division 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 the CCRD is in receipt of a signed and dated charge of discrimination. Mediation can provide a monetary and non-monetary resolution that benefits and reduces costs to all parties.

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Partially. The Division will not divulge any information we receive from you or the Respondent to the public. However, the 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 Respondent provides as part of its response. Unlike some other investigations, the Division’s process is transparent as applied to you 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.

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Filing a claim with the Division does not preclude the Respondent from contacting you unless such contact is otherwise unlawful. You may ask the Respondent to cease contacting you, or if you are represented by an attorney, you may ask that the Respondent contact your attorney exclusively.

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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 the Division or the Investigator assigned to your case.

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You may provide us with the witness contact information on the appropriate form (which is provided in this Intake Packet) and the Division will make its best efforts to contact the witness(es) if that person has relevant information. However, your best chance of having witness information included in the file is to have the witness draft a statement, sign and date it, and submit it to us.

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The Division recommends some practices to avoid 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.

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1560 Broadway, Suite 1050, Denver, CO 80202 Email
(303) 894-2997 - Phone (800) 262-4845 - Toll Free (303) 894-7830 - Fax