Brooke v. Restaurant Services, Inc
In Brooke v. Restaurant Services, Inc., 906 P.2d 66, 71 (Colo. 1995), the supreme court addressed issues under the Colorado Anti-discrimination Act (Act), 24-34-301 et seq., C.R.S. 1999, similar to those raised here. There, the supreme court addressed: (1) whether the Act is the exclusive remedy for pursuing sex discrimination claims and (2) whether a party pursuing common law claims related to claims brought under the Act is required to exhaust administrative remedies pursuant to the Act before filing a claim in district court.
The Brooke court first determined that because "the Act does not explicitly bar non-Act claims and does not provide a comprehensive scheme for addressing sex discrimination in the workplace," the Act does not preempt other remedies that are otherwise available. Brooke v. Restaurant Services, Inc., 906 P.2d at 70.
The Brooke court next addressed whether the claimant was required to exhaust administrative remedies before bringing common law claims related to the Act. The court held that "administrative remedies under the Act must be exhausted only for claims filed pursuant to the Act." Brooke v. Restaurant Services Inc., supra, 906 P.2d at 70. The court concluded that because the Colorado Civil Rights Commission (CCRC) did not have jurisdiction "to address common law claims arising out of discriminatory conduct not resulting in an employment-related decision nor authority to grant . . . compensatory relief," exhaustion of remedies through the CCRC prior to filing a common law claim with the district court was not necessary. Brooke v. Restaurant Services, Inc., supra, 906 P.2d at 71.
The court further concluded, "it is futile to require exhaustion of administrative remedies when no such remedies exist," especially where exhaustion would require a claimant to risk having the statute of limitations run on his or her common law claims. Brooke v. Restaurant Services, Inc., supra, 906 P.2d at 71-72.