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Protecting Opportunities And Workers' Rights Act

Concerning protections for Colorado workers against discriminatory employment practices, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation.
2023 Regular Session
Civil Law
Labor & Employment
Bill Summary

For purposes of addressing discriminatory or unfair employment practices pursuant to Colorado's anti-discrimination laws, the bill enacts the "Protecting Opportunities and Workers' Rights (POWR) Act", which:

  • Directs the Colorado civil rights division (division) to include "harassment" as a basis or description of discrimination on any charge form or charge intake mechanism;
  • Adds a new definition of "harass" or "harassment" and repeals the current definition of "harass" that requires creation of a hostile work environment;
  • Adds protections from discriminatory or unfair employment practices for individuals based on their "marital status";
  • Specifies that in harassment claims, the alleged conduct need not be severe or pervasive to constitute a discriminatory or unfair employment practice;
  • For purposes of the exception to otherwise discriminatory practices for an employer that is unable to accommodate an individual with a disability who is otherwise qualified for the job, eliminates the ability for the employer to assert that the individual's disability has a significant impact on the job as a rationale for the employment practice;
  • Specifies that it is a discriminatory or an unfair employment practice for an employer to fail to initiate an investigation of a complaint or to fail to take prompt, reasonable, and remedial action;
  • Specifies the requirements for an employer to assert an affirmative defense to an employee's proven claim of unlawful harassment by a supervisor; and
  • Specifies the requirements that must be satisfied for a nondisclosure provision in an agreement between an employer and an employee or a prospective employee to be enforceable; and
  • Requires an employer to maintain personnel and employment records for at least 5 years and, with regard to complaints of discriminatory or unfair employment practices, to maintain those records in a designated repository.

The bill appropriates a total of $1,248,170 from the general fund for the 2023-24 state fiscal year, allocated as follows to the following state departments and offices, to implement the bill:

  • $152,866 to the department of corrections;
  • $23,469 to the department of education;
  • $35,415 to the office of the governor;
  • $23,363 to the department of health care policy and financing;
  • $129,081 to the department of human services;
  • $146,894 to the judicial department;
  • $46,833 to the department of labor and employment;
  • $17,708 to the department of law;
  • $76,276 to the department of natural resources;
  • $89,090 to the department of personnel;
  • $52,912 to the department of public health and environment;
  • $52,912 to the department of public safety;
  • $266,298 to the department of regulatory agencies;
  • $47,045 to the department of revenue; and
  • $88,008 to the department of transportation.

(Note: Italicized words indicate new material added to the original summary; dashes through words indicate deletions from the original summary.)

(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)




Bill Text

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