Colorado Employment Law Updates, To Do's

Colorado Employment Law Updates, To Do’s

The Colorado legislature has been busy! Here are tips on assuring you’re in compliance with recent developments in pay equity, ban the box, and pregnancy accommodation.

Equal Pay for Equal Work Act (SB19-085)

  • Effective January 1, 2021, but start getting ready now
  • Prohibits all public and private employers from paying employees of different genders different wage rates (all compensation and benefits) for substantially similar work (based on skill, effort, and responsibility)
  • Pay differentials are permitted if based on one or more of: seniority or merit system; quantity or quality of production; geographic location of work; education, training, or experience; travel required
  • Bars employers from asking applicants about wage or salary history
  • Bars employers from preventing employees from discussing their own compensation
  • Requires that internal promotional opportunities be announced to all employees on same day, and that all job postings disclose hourly or salary compensation (or range) and benefits
  • Record-keeping requirements for job descriptions and wage histories
  • If a violation is found, employees may recover liquidated damages (double) unless employer demonstrates good faith. Good faith may be demonstrated where employer has conducted a thorough and comprehensive pay audit with the specific goal of identifying and remedying unlawful pay disparities. Attorney fees, costs, and other equitable remedies are also available.

Pay Equity To Do’s:

  1. Conduct a pay audit in 2020; make a plan to remedy unlawful pay disparities. WorkSmart Partners collaborates with HR Choice to provide these services for a flat fee based on size of organization. Call for a quote at 303-229-3597.
  2. Train all personnel at every level on the new law in 2020.
  3. Modify hiring and promotion practices to be in compliance by the end of 2020.

Ban the Box (HR19-1025)

  • Applies to private employers with eleven or more employees on September 1, 2019; and to all employers on September 1, 2021
  • Prohibits private employers from inquiring into job applicants’ criminal histories or requiring criminal history in job application Criminal history includes arrests, charges, pleas, or convictions for any misdemeanor or felony at the federal, state, or local level.
  • Permits criminal background checks later in hiring process, including obtaining publicly available criminal background reports
  • Exceptions made for: any law prohibiting employing for the position with a specific criminal history; any law requiring employer to conduct criminal background check; programs encouraging employment of people with criminal histories

Ban the Box To Do’s

  1. Review hiring practices and modify as needed to ensure compliance.

Colorado Pregnancy Accommodation Law (in case you missed it)

  • Effective since August 2016
  • Requires Colorado employers to engage in an interactive process to assess potential reasonable accommodations for applicants and employees for conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth.
  • Prohibits employers from denying employment opportunities based on the need to make a pregnancy-related reasonable accommodation and from retaliating against employees and applicants that request or use a pregnancy-related accommodation.
  • Requires employer to engage in a timely, good-good faith interactive process to determine effective reasonable accommodations that enable employee to continue to perform essential functions of the position.
  • Examples: more frequent or longer breaks; more frequent restroom, food and water breaks; obtaining or modifying equipment or seating; temporary transfer to a less strenuous or hazardous position, if available (with return to the current position after pregnancy); light duty, if available; job restructuring; limiting lifting; assistance with manual labor; or modified work schedules.
  • Bars employers from requiring any accommodation or leave not requested by employee
  • Exceptions for undue hardship on employer that impose significant difficulty or expense based on: the nature and cost of the accommodation; the overall financial resources of the employer; the overall size of the employer’s business with respect to the number of employees and the number, type, and location of the available facilities; and the accommodation’s effect on expenses and resources or its impact on the operations of the employer.

Pregnancy Accommodation To Do’s:

  1. Train all staff, including supervisors, managers, and human resources personnel, on the law.
  2. Update handbook language to include pregnancy-related accommodations and information on how employees may request such an accommodation.
  3. When engaging in the interactive process, document your good-faith efforts to identify and make reasonable accommodations
  4. Review and update job descriptions to designate essential functions of each job.
  5. Post the required notice in a conspicuous place and include in onboarding materials.