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.
- 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.
- House Bill 21-1108
- Sequoia Foreword: Title VII Prohibits Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
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