Unfortunately, even in 2020, workplace discrimination still occurs. While not as pervasive as it once was, it still happens, and workplace discrimination takes many forms. With a basic understanding of what qualifies as discrimination in our state though, victims will know when to contact a professional for help.
Employers can hire, fire, and assign work to their employees as they deem necessary in the ordinary course of business. They can also take any number of adverse actions against their employees, like discipline, suspension, etc. However, they cannot base those business decisions or adverse actions on prejudice, nor can they fail to make reasonable accommodations for disabled workers or retaliate.
But, as discrimination is not socially acceptable anymore, it can often be hidden. For example, depending on the situation, simply being treated differently because of one’s race or gender can be discrimination. Denials of advancement opportunities because of one’s age (i.e., because one is too close to retirement or does not understand youth culture) could also qualify. Evidence of this could be the repeated advancement of younger, less experienced co-workers. Or, more commonly, one may not be hired because of their sexuality or disability status, even though they feel that they were an ideal candidate. These are all potentially discriminatory actions that could fly under the RADAR without professional consultation.
The protected classes in Colorado are sex or gender including, sexuality, sexual orientation, and transgender status. It also included, race or national origin including, assumed ancestry. In addition disability status is included, even an assumed disability that can be physical or mental. Moreover, religion or creed including, religious dress and holiday leave, are protected. Familial status, like, marital status and current or potential pregnancy, are protected. And, finally, retaliation, like for opposing these discriminatory practices or aiding an employment discrimination investigation or proceeding, is prohibited workplace discrimination.
If one has been the victim of prohibited workplace discrimination or retaliation, in our state, the victim only has six months to file a charge of discrimination with the Colorado Civil Rights Division. This clock starts the moment the discrimination, otherwise known as the adverse action, occurred. This is why it is imperative that the moment one realizes they have been a victim, they contact a professional immediately.