J. Kent's Blog - Articles for Employers and Job Seekers

Bills for Colorado Employers to Watch this Legislative Session

Posted by: Emma Berdanier on February 12th, 2019

J. Kent Staffing is pleased to share this white paper authored by LaRona Mondt, Esq. and Wayne Pennebaker, Esq., corporate attorneys with Messner Reeves LLP. Messner Reeves is a Denver-based full-service business law firm.

In this 2019 Legislative Session, Colorado legislators have introduced bills that would protect applicants’ and employees’ rights relating to equal pay and criminal history inquiries. If these bills are passed, the new laws could impact employers’ operations.

Equal Pay For Equal Work Act | SB19-085

SB 19-085 was introduced on January 17, 2019. Referred to as the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, the bill would prohibit an employer from inquiring about the wage rate history of a prospective employee; relying on a prior wage rate to determine the current wage rate for an employee; and discriminating or retaliating against an employee or respective employee for failing to disclose the employee’s wage rate history or for asserting his or her rights under the bill.

Colorado law prohibits an employer from discriminating in the rate of pay based on gender. The bill would require employers to demonstrate that any wage differentials are based on a seniority system, merit system, or system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production. The bill would also create a private right of action whereby employees could sue employers directly under the law and would provide fines between $500 and $10,000 for violations.

Limits On Job Applicant Criminal History Inquiries | HB19-1025

HB 19-1025 was introduced on January 4, 2019. Referred to as the Colorado Chance to Compete Act, the bill would prohibit employers from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history on an initial employment application. Employers would also be prohibited from stating that a person with a criminal history may not apply for a position in an advertisement for the position or on the employment application. While an employer would be prohibited from requesting criminal history information from an applicant, an employer would be allowed to obtain an applicant’s criminal history on its own at any time.

Employers that are doing any of the following are exempt from the advertising restrictions: (i) employers required by law to conduct a criminal history record check, (ii) employers advertising a position where the law prohibits a person with a certain criminal history from being employed in that position, or (iii) employers participating in a program to encourage employment of people with criminal histories.

Stay tuned for the outcome of these proposed bills in a future article.