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What Is the City of Boulder Human Rights Ordinance?

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What Is the City of Boulder Human Rights Ordinance?

The City of Boulder Human Rights Ordinance is a local law that protects against illegal discrimination within the city limits of Boulder. The Ordinance specifically affords protection against discrimination in three areas:

  1. Housing
  2. Employment
  3. Public accommodation

Within these three areas, the ordinance prohibits discrimination based on ancestry, color, creed, gender variance, genetic characteristics, immigration status, marital status, mental disability, national origin, physical disability, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation and source of income. In housing, it also prohibits discrimination based on custody of a minor child, parenthood and pregnancy. In employment, it also prohibits discrimination based on age, specifically age 40 years and older.

A copy of the Human Rights Ordinance can be found by clicking on the link in the right column or by contacting the City of Boulder Office of Human Rights at 303-441-4197.

Why a local Human Rights Ordinance?

There are protections against discrimination at the state and the federal level. So why does Boulder have a city ordinance?  When the City Council enacted the Human Rights Ordinance in 1972, there were two primary reasons for creating protection at a local level:

  • Protecting classes which are not protected at the state or federal levels such as sexual orientation, gender variance and genetic characteristics.
  • State and Federal agencies are dealing with a much larger volume of complaints and therefore a complaint at the state or federal level can be a time consuming proposition. The City of Boulder Office of Human Rights is generally able to process complaints more promptly than other larger agencies.

It is important to understand that, in most cases, complainants have a choice of jurisdiction under which to file. Other agencies that enforce civil rights (see right column for links):

  • Colorado Civil Rights Division:  303-894-2997
  • Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity:  303-672-5437
  • U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission:  303-866-1300

Contact the Office of Human Rights regarding either of these two ordinances to inquire if a case falls within its jurisdiction.