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opinion

Letter to the Editor: We need to defend civil rights

Posted

Recently three state legislators – Senator Lundberg(R), Senator Lambert(R), and Representative Rankin(R) – defunded the Colorado Civil Rights Division (CCRD). In order to insure the CCRD can continue protecting Coloradans, a bill must pass through the Colorado State Assembly and be signed by our governor. It is critical that this bill gets passed.

Having the CCRD in place to mediate civil rights complaints makes Colorado an attractive place to do business, because it reduces frivolous lawsuits. In 2015-2016, 737 discrimination charges against Colorado employers were filed. Of those, only 16 were found by the division to have probable cause. In other words, the CCRD likely prevented 721 claims from being taken to court, thus protecting good employers and business owners without sacrificing the protection of employees from discrimination. If we allow the CCRD to sunset, the only method of recourse employees will have to file discrimination complaints will be through our overburdened courts.

Additionally, the CCRD serves as a free resource for Colorado businesses to ensure they are aware of what is and isn’t legal in regards to employee treatment. If this free resource goes away, Colorado businesses may have to keep a lawyer on retainer for advice. That’s a cost many small businesses can’t afford.

Finally, this Commission has protected Coloradans from discrimination for decades and we need this protection now more than ever. If you agree, consider contacting your state representative and senator to ask them to continue funding the Commission to insure fair treatment for all.

Robin Kupernik,
Arvada

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