First Regular Session
Sixty-first General Assembly
LLS NO. 970424.01 BWM
HOUSE BILL 971154
STATE OF COLORADO
BY REPRESENTATIVE Tate;
also SENATOR Matsunaka.
BUSINESS AFFAIRS & LABOR
A BILL FOR AN ACT
CONCERNING THE ENHANCEMENT OF CIVIL PENALTIES FOR
VIOLATIONS OF THE COLORADO EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION LAWS.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced
and does not necessarily reflect any amendments which may be subsequently
Makes remedies under Colorado employment discrimination laws equivalent to those available under federal law by providing that in cases of unlawful intentional employment discrimination, a complainant may recover reasonable attorney fees, compensatory damages, and punitive damages.
Specifies that the Colorado civil rights commission may order punitive damages against nongovernmental respondents if a complainant demonstrates that the respondent engaged in a discriminatory practice or practices with malice or reckless indifference to the statutorily protected rights of an aggrieved individual.
Excludes back pay, interest on back pay, and other types of relief authorized by law from compensatory damages. Limits the total amount of compensatory and punitive damages that may be awarded to a complainant based on the number of employees of the respondent employer. Does not limit the amount of reasonable attorney fees recoverable by law.
Permits complaining parties to have jury trials in
discrimination cases filed in court. Specifies that juries shall
not be informed of the statutory limitations on damages as set
forth in this act.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Colorado:
SECTION 1. 2434405, Colorado Revised Statutes, 1988 Repl. Vol., as amended, is amended to read:
2434405. Relief authorized.
(1) In addition to the relief authorized by section
2434306 (9), the commission may order a respondent
who has been found to have engaged in an unfair or discriminatory
employment practice to take affirmative action regarding: Back
pay; hiring, reinstatement, or upgrading of employees, with or
without back pay; the referring of applicants for employment by
any respondent employment agency; the restoration to membership
by any respondent labor organization; the admission to or continuation
in enrollment in an apprenticeship program, onthejob
training program, or a vocational school; the posting of notices;
and the making of reports as to the manner of compliance.
commission, in its discretion, may order such remedies singly
or in any combination. IN AN ACTION
BROUGHT BY A COMPLAINANT UNDER THIS PART 4 AGAINST A RESPONDENT
THAT ENGAGED IN UNLAWFUL INTENTIONAL DISCRIMINATION (NOT AN EMPLOYMENT
PRACTICE THAT IS UNLAWFUL BECAUSE OF ITS DISPARATE IMPACT), THE
COMPLAINANT MAY RECOVER REASONABLE ATTORNEY FEES, COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES, AND PUNITIVE DAMAGES AS ALLOWED IN THIS SECTION.
(2) Determination of punitive damages. THE COMMISSION MAY ORDER PUNITIVE DAMAGES AGAINST A RESPONDENT (OTHER THAN A GOVERNMENT AGENCY OR POLITICAL SUBDIVISION) IF THE COMPLAINANT DEMONSTRATES AT A HEARING HELD PURSUANT TO SECTION 2434306 THAT THE RESPONDENT ENGAGED IN A DISCRIMINATORY PRACTICE OR DISCRIMINATORY PRACTICES WITH MALICE OR RECKLESS INDIFFERENCE TO THE STATUTORILY PROTECTED RIGHTS OF AN AGGRIEVED INDIVIDUAL.
(3) Exclusions from compensatory damages. COMPENSATORY DAMAGES AWARDED UNDER THIS SECTION SHALL NOT INCLUDE BACK PAY, INTEREST ON BACK PAY, OR ANY OTHER TYPE OF RELIEF AUTHORIZED UNDER THIS SECTION.
(4) Limitations. THE SUM OF THE AMOUNT OF COMPENSATORY DAMAGES AWARDED UNDER THIS SECTION FOR FUTURE PECUNIARY LOSSES, EMOTIONAL PAIN, SUFFERING, INCONVENIENCE, MENTAL ANGUISH, LOSS OF ENJOYMENT OF LIFE, AND OTHER NONPECUNIARY LOSSES, AND THE AMOUNT OF PUNITIVE DAMAGES AWARDED UNDER THIS SECTION SHALL NOT EXCEED FOR EACH COMPLAINANT:
(a) IN THE CASE OF A RESPONDENT THAT HAS FOURTEEN OR FEWER EMPLOYEES IN EACH OF TWENTY OR MORE CALENDAR WEEKS IN THE CURRENT OR PRECEDING CALENDAR YEAR, TWENTYFIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS;
(b) IN THE CASE OF A RESPONDENT THAT HAS MORE THAN FOURTEEN AND FEWER THAN ONE HUNDRED AND ONE EMPLOYEES IN EACH OF TWENTY OR MORE CALENDAR WEEKS IN THE CURRENT OR PRECEDING CALENDAR YEAR, FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS;
(c) IN THE CASE OF A RESPONDENT THAT HAS MORE THAN ONE HUNDRED EMPLOYEES AND FEWER THAN TWO HUNDRED AND ONE EMPLOYEES IN EACH OF TWENTY OR MORE CALENDAR WEEKS IN THE CURRENT OR PRECEDING CALENDAR YEAR, ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS;
(d) IN THE CASE OF A RESPONDENT THAT HAS MORE THAN TWO HUNDRED AND FEWER THAN FIVE HUNDRED AND ONE EMPLOYEES IN EACH OF TWENTY OR MORE CALENDAR WEEKS IN THE CURRENT OR PRECEDING CALENDAR YEAR, TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS; AND
(e) IN THE CASE OF A RESPONDENT THAT HAS MORE THAN FIVE HUNDRED EMPLOYEES IN EACH OF TWENTY OR MORE CALENDAR WEEKS IN THE CURRENT OR PRECEDING CALENDAR YEAR, THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS.
(5) Construction. NOTHING IN THIS SECTION SHALL BE CONSTRUED TO LIMIT THE AMOUNT OF REASONABLE ATTORNEY FEES RECOVERABLE UNDER THIS SECTION.
(6) Jury trial. IF THE COMPLAINING PARTY ELECTS TO PURSUE THE COMPENSATORY AND PUNITIVE REMEDIES AUTHORIZED IN THIS SECTION AT A CIVIL TRIAL:
(a) ANY PARTY MAY DEMAND A TRIAL BY JURY; AND
(b) THE COURT SHALL NOT INFORM THE JURY OF THE LIMITATIONS DESCRIBED IN SUBSECTION (4) OF THIS SECTION.
SECTION 2. Effective date applicability. This act shall take effect upon passage and shall apply to actions brought under section 2434405, Colorado Revised Statues, on or after said date.
SECTION 3. Safety clause. The general assembly hereby finds, determines, and declares that this act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, and safety.