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Q: What is discrimination under the Colorado Civil Rights law?
A: In the areas of employment, housing, and public accommodations, discrimination is 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 (includes pregnancy), 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.
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.( See CaseConnect Frequently Asked Questions, below.***)
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.
***CaseConnect: Frequently Asked Questions
What is CaseConnect?
CaseConnect is the Colorado Civil Rights Division’s electronic case management system which allows for online submission of intake and case information and evidence. The system will also enable parties to check the status of discrimination claims and communicate with the Division.
I don’t have access to a computer. Can I still use CaseConnect?
CaseConnect is only accessible through a computer with an internet connection. The Department of Regulatory Agencies, in which the Division is housed, has a Welcome Center located at 1560 Broadway, Ste. 110, Denver, CO 80202. The Welcome Center has computer terminals which can be used by the public to access CaseConnect. You may also utilize computers at your local library or community center. If necessary, you may submit documents to the Division via email, in person, or via US Mail.
How to Use CaseConnect
How do I access CaseConnect?
The link to access CaseConnect is located above, on the Colorado Civil Rights Division’s website home page.
If you wish to see if the Colorado Civil Rights Division has jurisdiction over your complaint, you may begin by completing an intake questionnaire related to the area in which you believe you are experiencing discrimination (employment, state personnel board claims, housing, and public accommodations). If the Division lacks jurisdiction, you will be notified after answering a few questions--but please note that the Division may determine at a later point that it lacks jurisdiction under statute or rule.
If you are a responding party to a case and have received an access code, you may enter CaseConnect to submit a response to request for information, access details of the case, correspond with the Division, and submit evidence/documents.
Are there written instructions for using CaseConnect?
Yes, the Customer User Guide is linked above and here.
How do I know that my Intake Questionnaire or other documents have been accepted?
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email. Upon submission of the Intake Form, Division staff will contact you if they have questions or require additional information. If the Division has jurisdiction over your claim, you will receive an email instructing you to log into the portal and accept the Charge of Discrimination.
I submitted an Intake Form and/or other documents via CaseConnect. Should I also mail them to the Division?
No. The Division does not require paper documents and/or original signatures. You will be informed if this becomes necessary.
How will I receive documentation and/or notices from CCRD?
All notices and service letters including requests for information, rebuttal requests and letters of determination will be emailed to parties. If a party does not have an email address and/or indicated that they do not have access to a computer, they will be mailed these notices. However, please be aware that mailing notices may result in a delay in case action notification.
Filing or Responding to a Complaint
How do I access CaseConnect to file a complaint or respond to a complaint?
The link to access CaseConnect starts with a button located on CCRD's website home page. See the links above to file a complaint, respond to a complaint, and access each party's home pages.
If you wish to see if CCRD has jurisdiction over your complaint, you may begin by completing an intake questionnaire related to the area you believe you are facing discrimination (employment, housing and public accommodations). If CaseConnect indicates the Division does not have jurisdiction, but you believe there is jurisdiction, please immediately contact CCRD at 303.894.2997.
If you are a responding party to a complaint and have been given an access code, you may enter it to access details of the case, correspond with the Division, and submit evidence/documents.
Will the Charging Party be able to review documents that my company submits?
How do I know that my intake questionnaire or other documents have been accepted?
After completing an intake questionnaire or submitting evidence/documents, you will receive a confirmation email. Division staff will contact you if they have questions or require additional information.
I submitted an intake questionnaire and/or other documents via CaseConnect. Should I also mail them to the Division?
No. The Division does not require paper intake documents and/or original signatures. You will be informed if this becomes necessary as your case moves forward.
How will I receive documentation and/or notices from the division?
All notices and service letters including requests for information, rebuttal requests and letters of determination will be emailed to parties from Division staff email addresses. If a party does not have an email address and/or indicated that they do not have access to a computer, they will be mailed these notices to the address provided. However, please be aware that mailing notices may result in a delay in case action notification.
Where can I view the status of my claim and update my contact information?
Whether the Complainant or Respondent, you log into Case Connect Community Portal with your username and password.
How do I sign and file a charge of discrimination?
After you submit your intake information, Division staff will review the information, contact you and draft a charge of discrimination. You will receive an email instructing you that your charge is ready for acceptance. Log into your homepage, check the box indicating acceptance and click Submit. See the User Guide for additional instructions on filing a charge of discrimination.
How can I access the system / sign-up for access?
At this time, the primary contact for a Respondent should contact the CCRD to provide an email address for future complaints. If CCRD has an email address for a designated contact to receive charges for the respondent, an electronic charge will be sent to that email address on file with CCRD. If CCRD does not have an email address for the respondent, a paper notice will be mailed to the address of record for the respondent. The notice of the charge instructs the respondent to log into the secure portal with the specific charge number and a password. These items are required to access the system.
Can we use the system to respond to or view more than one charge at a time?
Not currently, although this feature is in the process of being developed and will be released soon. Currently, each charge is assigned unique login information and must be accessed and viewed separately.
Will the Complainant be able to review documents that my company submits? Can the Respondent view information submitted by the Complainant?
Generally, yes. Under Commission Rule 10.5(F), any of the parties or their counsel may examine any evidence contained in the investigative file of the charge, excluding documents or information made confidential by law. Evidence does not include Commission or Division work product or documents protected by attorney-client privilege.
How secure is this system?
Each charge is assigned a unique access code in the notice that the Respondent receives. It is imperative that your organization keeps this information secure. CCRD will provide the organization the capability to request a new, unique password. However, each password will only allow access to a specific charge. Information that you submit through the system is secure.
Are there specific times that the system is available?
The system is available 24/7. The only exceptions will be for system maintenance.
Can we request an extension to submit documentation via CaseConnect?
Yes. Both parties may use the Communication button or email the investigator to request an extension.
What if my company does not receive the notice of charge due to bad address or a SPAM filter by our system server?
The Investigator will follow up with a Respondent if it has not submitted a response. A representative from CCRD will re-serve the charge of discrimination in the event the Respondent did not receive it.
Is there a limit on the type of file or file size that can be uploaded electronically?
There currently is no limit on the type of file (e.g., doc, pdf, xls). Each upload is limited to 20 megabytes, but multiple uploads are permitted.
What if I want to submit additional information or exhibits after the response to the charge is submitted?
Additional information can be submitted at any time and uploaded to the system. Please bear in mind that the investigation may be at or near closure; therefore, additional information may not be considered.
The charge was sent to the wrong individual. How do we update this information with CCRD?
Respondents can update their organization contact information via the Respondent Homepage to ensure the contact details are current and accurate.
How would my company file a notice of appearance or notify CCRD of legal representation?
You can quickly and easily update legal representation information right in the system. From the Respondent HomePage, click on Edit Respondent’s Information. There is no longer a need to send a hardcopy letter of representation.
Will my company receive a hard copy of the charge of discrimination in addition to the digital version?
No, but you can view, download, save, or print the notice and charge from the system, for filing and future reference.
How will I receive notice that the investigation is closed?
By email notification and a separate email with the closing documents attached.
How do I provide feedback to CCRD about CaseConnect?
We welcome your feedback about CaseConnect and request that you email CCRD with your suggestions: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whom do we contact for more information?
Contact CCRD via email: email@example.com.
What should I do if I experience technical difficulties while using CaseConnect?
Please contact the Division at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need assistance using CaseConnect. If the inability to submit an intake questionnaire via CaseConnect may jeopardize the Division’s jurisdiction over your claim (for example, you have little time remaining before the filing deadline), you may submit an intake questionnaire in person, via US mail, or by email. In this case, please visit the website to obtain an intake packet or call the Division at 303-894-2997 to request that an intake questionnaire be sent to you.
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 evidence presented to you by 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: Can I come in for an interview?
A: We are pleased to offer in-person consultations on claims with or without an appointment. You may stop by the Denver Main Office (1560 Broadway, Lobby Level Welcome Center) for a meeting with an Investigator on a Tuesday (that is not a State Holiday), between 8:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. If you wish to make an appointment, you may call 303-894-2997 to schedule an appointment for Tuesdays at 8:30 a.m.
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, 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 Charge of Discrimination. Mediation may result in a monetary and/or non-monetary resolution that can benefit and reduce costs to all parties.
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: The other party is contacting me! Are they allowed to do this?
A: Filing a claim with 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: You may provide us with the witness contact information on the appropriate form (which is provided in this intake packet) and CCRD 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.
Q: What are some best practices for employers to avoid discrimination charges?
A: 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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