Given the racist incidents in Boulder recently, you’d think a proposed anti-discrimination law would sail through the state House of Representatives. But House Bill 1269, sponsored by Representative Claire Levy (pictured), a Boulder Democrat, has failed, after Republicans and a handful of Democrats joined in opposition, writes the Denver Business Journal.
That means Colorado remains just one of nine states to deny some federal anti-discrimination protections to people who work for companies that employ fewer than 15 workers. The concern was money—specifically, fear of lawsuits that could hurt bottom lines.
Representative Amy Stephens, a Monument Republican, worried that insurance companies would raise rates to compensate for the risk of suits and that the bill wasn’t right for these “tough economic times.” Representative Joe Rice, a Littleton Democrat, says he feared small businesses would be “burdened with legal fees…when things are just starting to turn around and they’re starting to focus on the business.”
The bill, Levy says, would have protected employees only if the violation was intentional, capping punitive damages at $25,000.