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Discrimination: Colorado

Discrimination requirements for other states

Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.

Authors: Stuart R. Buttrick, Susan W. Kline and Mary L. Will, Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP


  • The Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA) is similar to Title VII and applies to all public and private employers except certain religious employers. See Discrimination Under the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act.
  • The CADA prohibits unfair and discriminatory practices on the basis of disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, religion, age, national origin, ancestry and marital status. See Discrimination Under the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act.
  • The CADA also provides that Colorado employers that are subject to the National Labor Relations Act may not discriminate or take other adverse action against an employee because the employee inquired about, disclosed, compared or otherwise discussed the employee's wages. Such employers cannot require nondisclosure of wage information of their employees or require employees to waive their right to disclose their wage information. See Discrimination Under the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act.
  • The bona fide occupational qualification defense is available in some circumstances, and the Colorado Supreme Court has recognized the business necessity defense. See Defenses.
  • The CADA requires posting of notices and recordkeeping. See Employer Requirements and Practices.
  • The CADA may be enforced by either the Colorado Civil Rights Division or through a private lawsuit; however, an individual must exhaust administrative remedies before bringing a lawsuit. See Enforcement.
  • Colorado's Lawful Off-Duty Activities law prohibits employers from terminating an employee for engaging in any lawful activity off the premises of the employer and during nonworking hours. See Discrimination Based on Lawful Off-Duty Activities.
  • Colorado has an equal pay law. See Equal Pay.
  • Colorado prohibits discrimination based on military status. See Military Status Discrimination.
  • Localities including Boulder and Denver have requirements pertaining to discrimination. See Local Requirements.