The Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act prohibits employment practices that discriminate on the basis of disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, religion, age, national origin, or ancestry. The Act specifically prohibits employers from asking about any of these characteristics, unless based on a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ). The Act covers all public and private employers, regardless of size (CO Rev. Stat. Sec. 24-34-301 et seq.). Public employers are also prohibited from inquiring about a person's political affiliation, veteran's status, or organizational membership (CO Personnel Board Rule 9.3).
BFOQ exception. An employer may make an employment inquiry about a protected characteristic only if it is reasonably necessary to the normal operation of the employer's business and there is no less intrusive way to ensure that the applicant will be able to perform the essential functions of the job in question. In order to be a BFOQ, a characteristic must be absolutely essential to the applicant's ability to perform the job. For example, being female would be a legitimate BFOQ for a person applying for a job as a model of women's clothing. The BFOQ exception applies only in limited circumstances, and in general, courts have been extremely reluctant to sanction otherwise discriminatory practices on BFOQ grounds. Employers should use caution in relying on the BFOQ rationale and should always consult with legal counsel before making any inquiries on the basis of a BFOQ.
Off-duty conduct. Under state law, it is an unfair employment practice to discharge an individual for engaging in a lawful activity off the employer's premises during nonworking hours (CO Rev. Stat. Sec. 24-34-402.5).