Protected Characteristics

As stated in the University Nondiscrimination Policy, protected characteristics are defined as personal traits, characteristics and/or beliefs that are defined by applicable law as protected from discrimination and/or harassment. They include race, creed, color, sex, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, ancestry, religion, physical or mental disability, veteran status, marital or domestic partnership status, affectional or sexual orientation, and/or other characteristics protected by applicable law. Visit the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) website for more information about each protected characteristic.


On the CU Denver and CU Anschutz campuses, the Nondiscrimination Policy applies to the following categories:

Race

Refers to ancestry or physical or cultural characteristics associated with a certain group, such as skin color, hair texture or styles or certain facial features.

Color

Refers to the pigmentation of one's skin. 

National Origin

Refers to a person's (or a person ancestors') place of origin or to the physical, cultural, or linguistic characteristics of an ethnic group. 

Sex

Refers to the assignment and/or classification of an infant at birth as male, female, or intersex based on reproductive organs. 

Gender Identity

Refers to an innate sense of one's own gender, or an internal sense of who one is. 

Gender Expression

Refers to the external appearance fo one's gender identity, usually expressed through behavior, clothing, haircut or voice, and which may or may not conform to socially defined behaviors and characteristics typically associated with being either masculine or feminine.

Sexual Orientation

Refers to the physical or emotional attraction relative to another's gender.

Pregnancy

Refers to a state of carrying, developing, terminating, or miscarrying an embryo or fetus within one's body; giving birth, experiencing a related medical condition, including false pregnancy; or recovering from any of these. 

Disability

Refers to a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of an individual. 

Age

Refers to the length of time a person has lived. An employee must be 40 years or older to fall within the protected category.

Creed

Refers to a set of fundamental beliefs, principles, and/or opinions.

Religion

Refers to human beings' relation to that which they regard as holy, sacred, absolute, spiritual, divine, or worthy of special reverence.

Veteran Status

Refers to anyone who serves or who has served in any branch of the United States armed forces, including those in the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). 

Political Philosophy

Refers to a person’s belief or endorsement of any system of thought pertaining to public policy or the administration of governmental functions.

Political Affiliation

Refers to a person’s membership or association with others in commonality of political purpose and support.