On May 20, 2021, Colorado Governor Polis signed House Bill 21-1108 (the Act) which expands the categories of protected classes under the state’s anti-discrimination law which already prohibits discrimination in employment based on age, ancestry, color, creed, disability, national origin, race, religion and sexual orientation. These amendments become effective September 11, 2021.

The Act now makes it explicitly clear that employers must not discriminate against an individual based upon their gender expression or their gender identity and defines these terms as follows:

  • Gender expression means an individual’s way of reflecting and expressing their gender to the outside world, typically demonstrated through appearance, dress, and behavior.
  • Gender identity means an individual’s innate sense of their own gender, which may or may not correspond with the sex assigned at birth.

The Act also further clarifies the definition of sexual orientation as an individual’s identity or another individual’s perception thereof, in relation to the gender or genders to which one is sexually or emotionally attracted, and the behavior or social affiliation that may result from the attraction.

Employer Considerations

  • Colorado employers are encouraged to review their existing anti-discrimination, grooming, and dress policies in light of these amendments;
  • Employers should consider updating their training programs for HR and management personnel and refresh training content to include diversity and inclusion as it relates to gender expression and identity.

Additional Resources

Disclaimer: This content is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, medical or tax advice. It provides general information and is not intended to encompass all compliance and legal obligations that may be applicable. This information and any questions as to your specific circumstances should be reviewed with your respective legal counsel and/or tax advisor as we do not provide legal or tax advice. Please note that this information may be subject to change based on legislative changes. © 2021 Sequoia Benefits & Insurance Services, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Lizet Ramirez – Lizet is a Client Compliance Manager for Sequoia One, where she works with our clients to optimize and streamline benefits compliance. In her free time, Lizet enjoys live music, travel, hiking and spa days.