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Colorado vs. federal law on discrimination

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employment Law,FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

Q. Our small Colorado business is growing, and soon we will have 15 employees on the payroll. How does that affect our exposure under employment laws?

A. Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act applies to all sizes of private employers, while coverage under federal laws such as Title VII and the ADA does not begin until 15 employees. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act has a 20-employee threshold, and the FMLA’s is 50.

The current version of Colorado’s statute does not provide attorneys’ fees, punitive damages or damages for pain and suffering. Also, there is no right to a jury trial. These differences protect small employers from some of the risks associated with employment.

On the other hand, Colorado also prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and marital status, which are not protected classes under federal law.  

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