Civil Rights Division expands efforts to address discrimination

CaseConnect and Spanish language hotline part of Colorado Civil Right Division’s expanded efforts to educate communities about the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act

DENVER (Dec. 12, 2016) -- Coloradans who may have experienced discrimination in the areas of housing, employment or public accommodations now have two new options to make it easier to file a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division (CCRD), the state agency under the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) charged with enforcing the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA).

This month, Colorado became one of only 10 states in the country to offer online filing of discrimination complaints when the CCRD launched a new online portal, CaseConnect, enabling victims across the state to file charges of discrimination online. Rather than traveling to the Division’s office in Denver, or mailing materials, respondents and complainants alike can now log into their case to see the current case status, edit contact information, upload pertinent case information, and communicate with the Division. In addition, the Division recently launched a Spanish language hotline -- (720)-432-4294 -- so that a "Charge of Discrimination" does not have to be filed in English.

“It is critical for Coloradans to understand the protections they are provided under Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act and the resources that our Civil Rights Division provides,” said Joe Neguse, DORA Executive Director. “An important step in stemming systemic discrimination is a combination of better awareness of the laws and resources available to Coloradans, and better tools to more easily report instances of discrimination, like the Division’s new online complaint filing system.”

CaseConnect can be linked to via askDORA.colorado.gov or dora.colorado.gov/crd. Once a complaint is received, both respondents and complainants can log into their case to see the current status, edit contact information, and communicate with CCRD.

The Spanish language hotline provides access to a Spanish speaking investigator with CCRD, who will provide instructions and guidance to callers about CADA and how to file a complaint.

The CADA provides protection to Coloradans against discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodation as defined by law based on race, color, religion, national origin/ancestry, gender, pregnancy, disability, sexual orientation including transgender status, age, marital status and familial status. These same protections are extended to Coloradans who may not be U.S. citizens or legal residents.

“It is critical for Coloradans to know how to protect their civil rights, and for employers, housing managers and business owners to understand Colorado’s important civil rights laws,” said CCRD Director Aubrey Elenis. “That is what we are working to achieve with the launch of CaseConnect, the Spanish language hotline, as well as our efforts to provide training and education to businesses and community groups across the state. Because the fact is, if a charge is not filed, we can’t investigate it. That is why just getting the charge filed is a vital first step.”

The CCRD investigates claims involving discrimination. Just this past year, the Civil Rights Division partnered with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regarding the successful investigation, prosecution, and $1 million settlement of a Vail condominium complex (the largest EEOC sexual harassment settlement in Colorado’s history) as part of a discrimination and retaliation lawsuit brought on behalf of female employees of the complex. Several of those workers were undocumented.

Colorado law prohibits discrimination in the following areas based on these protected classes:

Employment (CRS §24-34-502) 
Race, Color, Disability, Sex/Gender, Pregnancy, Sexual Orientation (including Transgender Status), National Origin/Ancestry, Religion, Creed, Age, Marriage to a Co-worker, Retaliation

Housing (CRS § 24-34-402)
Race, Color, Disability, Sex/Gender, Sexual Orientation (including Transgender Status), National Origin/ Ancestry, Religion, Creed, Marital Status, Familial Status (families with children under the age of 18 or a pregnant woman), Retaliation

Public Accommodations (CRS § 24-34-602)
Race, Color, Disability, Sex/Gender, Sexual Orientation (including Transgender Status), National Origin/ Ancestry, Creed, Marital Status, Retaliation

Request a community presentation or training:

Businesses, neighborhood groups, community organizations, and municipalities can request a training or presentation on either Housing, Employment and Public Accommodations anti-discrimination. Call 303-894-2997 with questions regarding presentations.

Where to turn for other issues of discrimination:

Despite the CCRD’s name, it cannot handle all issues that are often associated with the term "civil rights." For instance, the Colorado Civil Rights Division does not have jurisdiction over claims involving:

  • federal employees filing against a federal employer
  • police and sheriff misconduct
  • judicial or court matters
  • prisoners' rights
  • characteristics such as personal appearance, political affiliation, lack of education and training, short-term disabilities, and personality conflicts
  • labor relations issues, including wage and hour matters not based on a protected class, and workers' compensation

Visit the CCRD website, dora.colorado.gov/crd, for a list of additional community organizations and government agencies that offer related resources.

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About DORA
The Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) is dedicated to preserving the integrity of the marketplace and is committed to promoting a fair and competitive business environment in Colorado. Consumer protection is our mission. Visit www.dora.colorado.gov for more information or call 303-894-7855 / toll free 1-800-886-7675
 

Media Contacts:
 
Rebecca Laurie
Department of Regulatory Agencies
p: 303-894-2338 | c: 720-724-0612