You may have seen the news yesterday that the Colorado Joint Budget Committee (JBC) voted yesterday not to approve funding for the Colorado Civil Rights Division (CCRD) and Colorado Civil Rights Commission (CCRC) for the 2018-19 fiscal year. We are getting emails and calls about this and want to give you a summary of what is happening and what it means. Don’t panic yet.
You already know that the CCRD investigates employment discrimination, retaliation, and harassment for employees whose employers are either not big enough to be covered by federal laws, or in instances where there is no protection under federal law. Right now, in order to have the right to sue your employer you need to file with the CCRD or the EEOC.
What really happened yesterday is that there was a vote resulting in a tie. This means that funding for the CCRD and CCRC is not yet approved. There are six members of the JBC. The three Democrats voted to fund the agencies, while the three Republicans voted against funding.
Here’s the real that they are holding the funds hostage : In a statement by Sen. Lundberg, he said, “This is the commission who ruled against Masterpiece Cake[shop]…” The Republicans are upset about the CCRC’s decision in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, where it agreed that refusal to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple was discrimination. That case went all the way up to the Supreme Court, and we will get a ruling in the next few months.
If the CCRD were eliminated, Colorado would become one of the few states- along with Alabama and Mississippi- not to have a state employment fair practices agency. In addition to sending the message that Colorado is unconcerned with civil rights, this would cause major trouble and expense for: citizens, business, and the court system. But, it is important to know that the elimination of the CCRD and CCRD does not eliminate the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA) that protects your civil rights.
At Livelihood Law, we are committed to the pursuit of civil rights for Coloradans. We hope that everyone will come to their senses and renew the CCRD and the CCRC, because it is clearly in the best interests of our state. Whatever happens, we will continue to fight for your rights.