The last few weeks have seen a torrent of new employment laws pass in the Colorado legislature.  Today we will discuss the most recent changes to the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA) today, and will be posting separately on changes to Colorado’s non-compete statute and Wage Claim Act very soon.

House Bill 22-1367 passed Monday night and makes multiple amendments to the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA).  These changes include:

  • Expanding the definition of “employee” to include domestic workers;
  • Extending the amount of time an employee has to file a complaint of discrimination under CADA from 180 days to 300 days after the unfair employment practice took place; and
  • Expands remedies in age discrimination cases to match those available under all other protected classes.

These changes are notable and represent a significant expansion of rights and remedies for employees.

Domestic Employee Discrimination

First, there are an estimated 2.2 million domestic workers in the United States, and tens of thousands of domestic workers employed in Colorado.  Domestic workers are individuals who are employed by a household or individual to perform duties in private residences and therefore include nannies, housekeepers, home aides, and more.  CADA has historically exempted domestic workers from CADA’s definition of “employee” until now.

An expansion of CADA to include domestic workers will require potential employers to not discriminate, refuse to hire or promote, or fire or demote domestic employees because of their disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, religion, age, national origin, family status, or ancestry.

Domestic employees may now file charges of discrimination with the Colorado Civil Rights Division (CCRD), and employers – that is, households – will be required to respond to the CCRD’s requests for information and interviews.

300 Day Filing Deadline

Under the previous version of CADA, employees had a maximum of 6 months, or 180 days, to file a charge of discrimination with the Colorado Civil Rights Division (CCRD) after a CADA violation or waive their claim.  Although 6 months may seem like a long period of time, the CCRD’s intake process for self-represented employees does not toll the clock on the 180-day deadline, and many employees do not become aware of the filing requirement until close to the deadline.

HB 1367’s amendment will extend the deadline to file complaints under CADA to 300 days, thereby matching the deadline to file complaints under federal law with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).  This extension of time will allow more employees – and particularly employees of small businesses who may not have claims under federal laws – to file complaints, seek counsel, and initiate a CCRD investigation.

Expanded Remedies for Age Discrimination

Both state and federal laws have historically and ironically discriminated against plaintiffs bringing age discrimination claims by limiting the remedies under age claims.  Up until now, plaintiffs asserting age discrimination claims were barred from seeking punitive or compensatory damages under either CADA or the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).

HB 1367 finally brings age claims in line with all other protected classes and will allow age discrimination plaintiffs to seek punitive and compensatory damages once signed, meaning that age discrimination plaintiffs will finally be able to receive compensation for emotional distress, medical treatment, inconvenience, and impairment of the quality of life.  These damages are often a substantial part of the damage sustained by plaintiffs in discrimination and retaliation cases and represent a significant increase in potential liability for employers.

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If you have questions or need help navigating this area of employment law, please reach out to Tava Employment Law here.  I welcome your suggestions for future topics as well.

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