Discrimination

Colorado’s anti-discrimination laws guarantee equal access to public accommodations, housing, and employment regardless of disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation (including transgender status), marital status, family status, religion, national origin, or ancestry.

A place of public accommodation includes any business that is engaged in any sales or offers services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations to the public. This includes all sorts of businesses, such as restaurants, stores, hospitals, health clubs, clinics, schools, etc. Specifically excluded are churches, synagogues, mosques, and other places principally used for religious purposes. In Colorado, it is unlawful for a place of public accommodation to refuse, withhold from, or deny individuals in any of the above listed classifications the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, etc. offered by the place of public accommodation.

Housing:

Fair housing laws were enacted to ensure everyone has equal access to the housing of their choice.

Protected classes in housing include: race, color, religion, creed, national origin/ancestry, sex, disability/handicap, sexual orientation (including transgender status), marital status, and familial status (children under the age of 18 in the household).

Examples of discriminatory housing allegations based on membership in a protected class include, but are not limited to: refusal to rent, unequal terms and conditions, discriminatory financing, failure to provide reasonable accommodation or modification for a person with a disability, refusal to sell, and retaliating against someone who has exercised his/her fair housing rights.

Individuals who believe they have been subject to housing discrimination based on their protected class status have one year from the last date of discriminatory harm to file a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division. Aggrieved individuals who believe they have been subject to housing discrimination based on their protected class status have two years from the last date of discriminatory harm to file a court action.

Complete a Complaint Intake Form (en español) if you believe you were discriminated against in housing based on a protected class.

In housing complaints, you must file your formal complaint/charge within ONE (1) YEAR of the date that you are alleging you experienced discrimination based on one of the protected classes. (Filing the complaint intake form/packet does not constitute filing of the formal complaint/charge; therefore, remember to submit the complaint intake packet well before the ONE (1) YEAR time limit, to allow time for the charge to be drafted, signed, and returned to the Division.)

Employment:

Colorado employers are not allowed to discriminate against certain protected classes in the following ways, among others: discharge, discipline, suspension, harassment, terms and conditions, failure to accommodate, and retaliation.

Protected classes for employment discrimination are: race, color, religion, creed, national origin, ancestry, sex, pregnancy, age, sexual orientation (including transgender status), physical or mental disability, marriage to a co-worker, and retaliation for engaging in protected activity (opposing a discriminatory practice or participating in an employment discrimination proceeding).

Individuals who believe they have been subject to employment discrimination based on their protected class status have SIX (6) MONTHS to file from the date of discriminatory harm to file a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division. Complete a Complaint Intake Form (en español) if you believe you were discriminated against in employment based on a protected class.

In employment complaints, you must file your formal complaint/charge within SIX (6) MONTHS of the date that you are alleging you experienced discrimination based on one of the protected classes. (Filing the complaint intake form does not constitute filing of the formal complaint/charge; therefore, remember to submit the complaint intake packet well before the SIX (6) MONTH time limit to allow time for the charge to be drafted, signed, and returned to the Division.

Public Accommodations:

In Colorado, it is illegal for places of public accommodation to discriminate against protected classes of people. Places of public accommodation include a restaurant, hospital, hotel, retail store, and public transportation, among others.

Prohibited discriminatory practices in places of public accommodation include these adverse actions: denial of service, terms and conditions, unequal treatment, failure to accommodate, and retaliation.

Protected classes for places of public accommodation are: race, color, disability, sex, sexual orientation (including transgender status), national origin/ancestry, creed, marital status, and retaliation.

Individuals who believe they have been subject to discrimination in a place of public accommodation based on their protected class status have SIXTY (60) DAYS from the date of discrimination to file a complaint. Complete a Complaint Intake Form (en español) if you believe you were discriminated against in a place of public accommodation based on a protected class.

In public accommodation complaints, you must file your formal complaint/charge within SIXTY (60) DAYS of the date that you are alleging you experienced discriminated based on one of the protected classes. (Filing the complaint intake packet does not constitute filing of the formal complaint/charge; therefore, remember to submit the complaint intake packet well before the SIXTY (60) DAY time limit to allow time for the charge to be drafted, signed, and returned to the Division.)

Health Care:

Private insurance plans sold in Colorado* can not:

  • Consider being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender a pre-existing condition.
  • Decide what is medically necessary for you. That is a decision between you and your medical provider.
  • Deny transgender Coloradans services that are offered to non-transgender Coloradans.
  • Discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Deny or limit coverage based on “pre-existing conditions” like sexual orientation, gender identity, or health conditions (including HIV status).

*If your health plan ID card has a “CO-DOI” designation on it, your plan is subject to Colorado’s insurance laws and rules.

If you think an insurer has unfairly denied your health insurance claim, you must first file follow the appeal process through your insurance provider, after which you may appeal for an impartial external review through the Colorado Division of Insurance. Refer to this Colorado Division of Insurance Bulletin (B-4.49) in your appeal to your insurer if you believe your claim was denied based on sexual orientation or transgender status.

If the insurer denies your claim after your internal appeal, you may file a complaint with Colorado’s Division of Insurance at 303-894-7490, by email at insurance@dora.state.co.us, or by filling out an online assistance request form on DOI’s website.

If you believe you are being discriminated against based on your sexual orientation or transgender status in your employment, in housing, or by an entity that serves the public (including insurance coverage), you can also file a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division.

Learn more about the Division of Insurance (DOI) bulletin that prohibits discrimination in Colorado health plans here.