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Total Articles: 76

Denver and its Neighbors Return to Work: Mayor Announces Expiration of Stay-at-Home Order and Ushers in Period of COVID-19 “Relief and Recovery”

At a press conference on May 5, 2020, City and County of Denver, Colorado Mayor Michael Hancock announced that Denver’s “Stay at Home” Order will expire on May 8, 2020. Shortly after, Boulder County, Jefferson County, and the Tri-County Health Department (covering Adams, Arapahoe, and Douglas Counties) announced that they, too, would be allowing their stay-at-home orders to expire on May 8, 2020.

Colorado Civil Rights Division Issues Emergency Rule and FAQs Addressing Employees Concerned about Returning to the Workplace

As the nuances of Colorado Governor Jared Polis’s “Safer at Home” Order continue to reveal themselves to Colorado employers resuming operations, one more state agency has weighed in: the Colorado Civil Rights Division (CCRD).

Denver Joins a Growing Number of Colorado Municipalities Mandating Face Coverings While in Public

Late on Friday, May 1, 2020, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock announced that the City and County of Denver will join other Colorado municipalities, as well as several private retailers and transportation providers, in requiring residents to wear “face coverings” in a broad array of public settings. The order will take effect at 12:00 a.m. MST on Wednesday, May 6, 2020, and will carry a civil penalty of up to $999.00 per violation.

Colorado’s “Safer at Home” Order Permits Some Businesses to Reopen with Strict COVID-19 Suppression Measures

On April 27, 2020, Colorado began its phased relaxation of the statewide stay-at-home restrictions in place since March 25, 2020, with Governor Jared Polis’s issuance of Executive Order D 2020 044, styled the “Safer at Home” Order. Colorado has thus joined the growing number of states permitting certain employees to report to work.

Colorado Expands Coverage and Amount of Leave under Health Emergency Leave with Pay (HELP) Rules

On April 27, 2020, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment amended its Health Emergency Leave with Pay (HELP) Rules, which require certain employers to provide employees paid sick leave for a covered COVID-19 reason. The HELP Rules were originally issued on March 11, 2020, and minor amendments expanding industry coverage were subsequently issued on March 26 and April 3. The latest changes are a response to Governor Polis’s April 26 Safer at Home Executive Order, which gradually allows certain businesses to operate at greater capacity. Key portions of the April 27, 2020 amendments to the HELP Rules are highlighted below.

Colorado Enters its “Safer At Home” Phase of the COVID-19 Pandemic, But Many Municipalities Remain on Lockdown

On April 27, 2020, Colorado will enter a new phase in its fight against COVID-19, when the “Stay-at-Home” Order issued by Governor Polis expires and is replaced by what the governor has labeled relaxed “Safer at Home” restrictions. While the governor has not yet issued an executive order setting forth the precise terms of these new restrictions, his administration has released piecemeal information outlining the general contours of what “safer at home” means for Colorado.

What Colorado Employers Need To Know About New Face Covering Requirement

Colorado Governor Jared Polis just issued a new executive order: “Ordering Workers in Critical Businesses and Critical Government Functions to Wear Non-Medical Face Coverings.” The order requires the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to issue an order requiring workers in Critical Business and Critical Government Functions to:

Colorado COVID-19 HELP Rules Expand Covered Industries & Uses

By Laurie J. Rust and Sebastian Chilco on March 27, 2020 On March 26, 2020, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment amended its Health Emergency Leave with Pay (HELP) Rules that require certain employers to provide employees up to four paid sick leave days for a covered COVID-19 reason. The revised rules cover employees under a health care provider's instructions to quarantine or isolate due to a risk of having COVID-19, in addition to employees with flu-like symptoms who are being tested for COVID-19. Additionally, the revised rules apply to employees at retail establishments that sell groceries, in addition to those who work for an employer engaged in the field of leisure and hospitality, food services, child care, education at all levels (including related services, such as but not limited to cafeterias and transportation to, from, and on campuses), home health care (working with elderly, disabled, ill, or otherwise high-risk individuals), operating a nursing home, or operating a community living facility.

Colorado Governor Issues Statewide ‘Stay at Home’ Order

The Governor Jared Polis has issued a “stay at home” order in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and provide an opportunity for the healthcare system to prepare for the expected increase in demand.

A COVID-19 Guide for Colorado Employers

Since the arrival of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Colorado, state and local officials have issued a dizzying array of executive actions in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus.1 This ASAP endeavors to collect and summarize in one place each of these COVID-19-related executive and regulatory actions applicable or relevant to Colorado employers.

New FAQs Clarify Colorado Emergency Paid Sick Leave Rules

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment released new FAQs to clarify requirements under the Colorado Health Emergency Leave with Pay (“Colorado HELP”) Rules, issued on March 11, 2020, that require certain employers to provide paid sick leave for employees with flu-like symptoms who are being tested for COVID-19. The FAQs define covered industries, address what it means to "engage" in a covered industry, discuss employee notice and documentation requirements, and outline employer payment obligations.

Colorado Adopts Emergency Rule Mandating Paid Sick Leave for Employees, Effective March 11

On March 11, 2020, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) adopted the Colorado HELP Rules to require up to four days of paid sick leave for employees in select industries to attend to flu-related symptoms and treatment.

Significant Changes to Colorado Regulations on Wages and Working Conditions for Private Employers Take Effect March 16

Effective March 16, 2020, virtually all private employers in Colorado will be subject to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, Division of Labor Standards and Statistics’ new Colorado Overtime and Minimum Pay Standards Order Number 36 (“COMPS Order 36”). COMPS Order 36 replaces prior Minimum Wage Orders, which covered only four industries, and expands Colorado overtime, meal and rest break, and travel time requirements, as well as exemption tests, among other rules, to virtually all private employers in the state.

Colorado Continues Its Efforts Towards Paid Family Leave

There is a new proposed bill in town, which attempts to create tax incentives to encourage employers to voluntarily support paid parental and medical leave programs. The proposed bill would also encourage employees to save for time away from work during these times, specifically through leave savings accounts for which the employee can contribute up to $5,000 of wages, annually, to pay for leave-related expenses. Leave-related expenses include things like caring for the birth of a child or for a spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition.

Littler Lightbulb: What’s New in Colorado?

Colorado has been making headlines with several noteworthy new laws and regulations. This Lightbulb will highlight key recently enacted and pending employment legislation in the Centennial State. The Littler Denver office will be carefully monitoring these issues and other state and local developments as they unfold.

Attention Colorado Employers: Significant Wage and Hour Rule Changes Are on the Way

Beginning March 16, 2020, sweeping minimum wage, overtime, and other rules affecting the payment of wages will take effect in Colorado. The changes are included in the Colorado Overtime & Minimum Pay Standards (COMPS) Order, formerly known as the Colorado Minimum Wage Order.

Colorado Labor Agency Adopts Wage Rules that Include Bar on Vacation Pay Forfeiture

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) has adopted permanent amendments to its Wage Protection Act Rules (Permanent WPA Rules) that include a prohibition against forfeiture of vacation pay under the Colorado Wage Claim Act (CWCA).

End-Of-The Year To-Do List For Colorado Employers: Vacation Pay And Denver Minimum Wage

Colorado employers will soon face two big changes that will impact your workplaces. In a matter of weeks, the state will adopt a new rule on use-it-or-lose-it vacation policies, and Denver will begin the process of increasing its minimum wage. With the new year approaching, now is the perfect time to get up to speed on these changes adjust your policies and practices.

Drastic Revisions To Colorado’s Wage And Hour Laws Are Coming

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment just published proposed regulations that will dramatically overhaul the state’s wage and hour laws. This sweeping reform has the potential to impact every employer doing business in Colorado, addressing overtime, salary requirements, rest breaks, and a host of other factors. While the final version of these rules may slightly vary from their current form, and they won’t be effective until at least March 2020, you should take steps right now to understand them and plan for the finalization and implementation of these new laws.

Colorado Labor Agency Proposes Revisions to Wage Rules that Include Bar on Vacation Pay Forfeiture

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) has proposed amendments to its Wage Protection Act Rules (Proposed WPA Rules) that include a prohibition against forfeiture of vacation pay under the Colorado Wage Claim Act (CWCA).

Colorado Employer’s Vacation Policy that Included Forfeiture Provision Upheld

An employer’s vacation policy did not violate the Colorado Wage Claim Act (CWCA), despite stating that employees forfeit earned vacation pay if they are discharged or quit without giving two weeks’ notice, the Colorado Court of Appeals has held. Nieto v. Clark’s Market, Inc., 2019 COA 98 (Colo. App. June 27, 2019).

Colorado’s Revised Tip Pool Notice Requirements Take Effect August 2

Effective August 2, 2019, Colorado employers using tip pools must comply with new customer notice requirements. Under H.B. 1254, which passed both houses of the legislature in the 2019 session and was signed by Governor Polis on May 13, tips are the sole property of the employee receiving them unless employers publish a notice on menus, table tents, or receipts, informing each customer that gratuities are shared by employees.

Colorado Becomes 13th State to Pass “Ban the Box” Legislation

On May 28, 2019, Colorado governor Jared Polis signed into law the Colorado Chance to Compete Act (House Bill 19-1025), more commonly known as “ban the box” legislation. The recently signed Act is another example of pro-employee legislative change that has taken place since the Democrats gained control of the state legislature in 2018.

Colorado Enacts ‘Ban the Box’ Legislation to Take Effect in September 2019

In an effort to prevent persons with criminal records from being automatically ruled out for job vacancies, Colorado Governor Jared Polis has signed “ban the box” legislation. The new law will go into effect in September 2019 for employers with at least 11 employees, and employers with fewer than 11 employees have until September 2021 to comply. This makes Colorado the 13th state to enact “ban the box” legislation for private employers.

Colorado Limits Inquiries About Applicants’ Criminal History

Colorado has joined the ban-the-box legislative trend. Ban-the-box laws prohibit employers from asking applicants about criminal history on the employment application, thereby banning the once-common checkbox for applicants to disclose their ex-convict status. These laws also generally impose other restrictions on the collection and use of criminal history in the recruitment process. With the enactment of the Colorado Chance to Compete Act (H.B. 19-1025) (CCCA) on May 28, 2019, Colorado has become the 32nd jurisdiction to enact a ban-the-box law that applies to private-sector employees. Adding additional protections for applicants with criminal histories, Governor Polis simultaneously signed H.B. 19-1275, which restricts inquiries about applicants’ sealed and expunged criminal records.

Colorado Enacts Sweeping Equal Pay Legislation After Decades of Failed Attempts

On May 22, 2019, Colorado governor Jared Polis signed sweeping equal pay legislation into law after nearly 40 years of failed attempts by the Colorado government to pass a pay equity law. The recently signed Colorado Equal Pay for Equal Work Act is one of many transformative legislative changes the state government has put in place since the November 2018 election, which resulted in Democrats holding trifecta control in the Colorado state government for the first time in years.

Colorado Enacts Comprehensive Equal Pay Law

Enacting one of the toughest enhanced state pay equity laws to date, Colorado has become the tenth state in the country to pass an equal pay law that is more demanding than federal law. The new law, signed by Governor Jared Polis on May 22, 2019, goes into effect on January 1, 2021.

What A Difference An Election Makes: Colorado Passes Slate Of New Employment Laws

The 2018 Colorado state elections resulted in a Democratic House, Senate, and governor, smoothing the way for the 2019 legislature to pass six new employment bills. Some of these pieces of legislation had been proposed in various forms in previous sessions but failed to pass – until now. While a few still await Governor Jared Polis’s signature, they are all expected to be signed and soon should be state law.

Colorado Passes Comprehensive Equal Pay Law

Colorado Governor Jared Polis has signed what is one of the toughest enhanced state pay equity laws to date. Colorado has become the tenth state in the country to pass an equal pay law that is more demanding than federal law. The new law goes into effect on January 1, 2021.

New Colorado Law Will Soon Criminalize Wage Violations

Under a new law signed by Governor Jared Polis yesterday, Colorado employers will soon face potential criminal charges for failure to pay wages. Once the new law takes effect on January 1, 2020, you will need to ramp up your wage and hour compliance efforts or risk facing criminal penalties. How exactly can Colorado employers avoid becoming felons?

Colorado State Senate Affirms Equal Pay Law...Will it Pass in 2019?

Colorado legislators are only a few steps away from approving the Colorado “Equal Pay for Equal Work Act” (SB 19-085) and making it the latest to enact enhanced equal pay legislation.

Colorado Equal Pay Law Introduced

On January 17, 2019, Colorado Senate Democrats introduced the “Equal Pay for Equal Work Act” (SB 19-085) to prohibit a wage differential based on an employee’s sex. The bill also contains a salary history ban and pay transparency requirements. If passed, this would be among the most aggressive equal pay laws in the nation.

Colorado Court of Appeals Confirms the Broad Scope of “Arising Under” Arbitration Agreements and Expands Duty-of-Loyalty Claims

On September 20, 2018, the Colorado Court of Appeals issued an impressive 41-page decision on the scope of arbitration agreements and the duty of loyalty in Colorado, Digital Landscape Inc. v. Media Kings LLC, 2018 COA 142 (Colo. App. Sept. 20, 2018). The court concluded that clauses requiring arbitration of all claims “arising under” an agreement are broad and that such language is not intended to limit the scope of arbitrable claims. Indeed, the court held that such clauses can include even unpled claims for breach of the duty of loyalty by independent contractors that usurp an opportunity of the principal.

Security Breaches Costly and Inevitable? [Colorado]

On May 29, 2018, Governor Hickenlooper signed HB—1128 into law. Importantly, the Bill amends the State’s data breach notification law to require that affected Colorado residents be notified within 30 days of a data breach, and specifies the information that must be included in the data breach notice. The new law, which takes effect September 1, 2018, applies to “covered entities,” (if your business maintains, owns, or licenses information of Colorado residents, regardless of where the business or data is based, it is a “covered entity”), also sets forth certain data security requirements and adds requirements regarding the disposal of personal identifying information.

SCOTUS Rules Colorado Agency Violated Free Speech Rights in Wedding Cake Case

On June 4, 2018, the Supreme Court of the United States settled a controversy stemming from a bakery’s refusal to make a cake for a same-sex couple’s wedding reception. Justice Kennedy, writing for the majority, ruled that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission violated the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment by failing to consider the case with religious neutrality. Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, No. 16-111, Supreme Court of the United States (June 4, 2018).

A "Rare" Amendment: Colorado Amends its Non-Compete Statute for the First Time Since 1982 to Protect Physicians Treating Patients with "Rare Disorders"

In 1982, the first compact discs were introduced, the Weather Channel debuted, the first artificial heart was successfully implanted in a human patient, and Colorado first enacted its statute governing covenants not to compete, section 8-2-113, C.R.S. Since then, to say that business and technology have changed a great deal would be a massive understatement. But not once since 1982 has Colorado amended section 8-2-113. Not until Governor John Hickenlooper signed Senate Bill 18-082 on April 2, 2018.

Colorado Supreme Court Attempts to Clarify Statute of Limitations Applicable to State Law Wage Claims

On March 5, 2018, the Colorado Supreme Court addressed a longstanding question regarding the statute of limitations applicable to claims brought under the Colorado Wage Claim Act (CWCA) by holding the Act’s statute of limitations reaches back only as far as three years preceding an employee’s termination of employment. The case, Hernandez v. Ray Domenico Farms, No. 17SA77, made its way to the supreme court when U.S. District Court Judge William Martinez sua sponte asked the supreme court to clarify two potentially conflicting sections in the CWCA: one establishing a statute of limitations for unpaid wage claims and another declaring all unpaid wages are due upon termination.

Colorado Supreme Court Clarifies the Statute of Limitations under the Colorado Wage Act, Closing the Door on Stale Claims

The Colorado Supreme Court recently clarified the applicable statute of limitations for wage claims in the State of Colorado.1 In Hernandez v. Ray Domenico Farms, Inc., No. No. 17SA77, 2018 WL 1146468 (Colo. Mar. 5, 2018) (“Hernandez”), the court held that claims under Colorado’s Wage Claim Act (the “Wage Act”) must be brought within two or three years of when the wages first become due and payable, overruling several decisions that held terminated employees could make a claim for any unpaid wages earned during the entire course of their employment.

10th Circuit Finds Employee Who Only Worked in Colorado Falls Under State MCA Exemption

In a recent ruling, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a district court’s order granting summary judgment in which the district court held that an employee may be exempt from overtime under Colorado’s motor carrier exemption even when the employee does not actually travel out of state. Combs v. Jaguar Energy Services, LLC, No. 16-1250 (March 31, 2017).

Labor and Employment Law Under the Trump Administration: A Brief Overview for Colorado Employers

With the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president last month, many are wondering what impact the new Trump administration will have on employers. President-elect Trump has given few details regarding his plans for labor and employment policy, but the following is a summary of how different areas of labor and employment could be affected by the incoming administration.

Reducing Redundancy: Colorado Repeals its State-Specific Employment Verification Requirement

Effective August 10, 2016, Colorado has eliminated the requirement that employers collect and retain state employment verification forms for each new hire. The Colorado General Assembly concluded that the state collection requirement unnecessarily burdened employers because it was redundant of federal requirements for the Form I-9 and did nothing additional to ensure legal work status of employees in the state.

Colorado Broadens Whistleblower Protection for State Employees Who Disclose Confidential Information

Encouraging government whistleblowers, an amendment to Colorado law bars disciplinary actions against state employees who reveal confidential information while reporting instances of waste, mismanagement of public funds, abuses of authority, or illegal and unethical practices to a designated “whistleblower review agency.” Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed the amendment (SB 16-056) to Colorado Revised Statutes Section 24-50.5-101 et seq. on June 10, 2016.

Colorado Law Grants Employees Right to Access Personnel Files

Beginning January 1, 2017, employees in Colorado will now have a right to inspect and copy their personnel files. Prior to this law, Colorado had no law granting private-sector employees access to their personnel records.

New Colorado Law Requires Employee Access to Personnel Files

On June 10, 2016, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed into law House Bill 16-1432. Effective January 1, 2017, the new law will require private sector employers to allow employees to access their personnel files at least once annually. The law does not apply to public sector employers (whose employees already have access to such records through the Colorado Open Records Act).

Five New State Laws Will Soon Affect Colorado Employers

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper recently signed five bills into law that will soon impact employers in a number of different ways. Employers who do business in the state will face a new legal framework with respect to personnel files, classification of workers as employees or independent contractors for unemployment purposes, work status verification, and employment of workers with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Moreover, public employers will have additional challenges when it comes to employee whistleblowers.

New Colorado Law Grants Employees Access to Personnel Files

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has signed into law new requirements specifying when and how private-sector employers must respond to their employees’ requests for inspection and copying of their personnel files. Prior to this law, Colorado had no law granting private-sector employees access to their personnel records.

Colorado Repeals State Employment Verification Requirement

Beginning on August 10, 2016, Colorado employers will be relieved of the additional state verification and retention obligations related to the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.

Colorado Repeals State Employment Verification Requirement

Since January 1, 2007, Colorado employers have been required to verify the work authorization of all newly hired employees – in essence, comply with federal I-9 requirements. However, Colorado added requirements on top of the Form I-9: the completion and retention of a written or electronic version of an entirely separate affirmation form, and retention of copies of the identity and work authorization documents presented by the employee during the I-9 process. More than 200 employers have been subject to fines under the law and more than 7,000 random audits were conducted. The law called fines between $5,000 and $25,000.

Colorado Grants Certain Private-Sector Employees the Right to Inspect Their Personnel Files

On June 10, 2016, Governor John W. Hickenlooper signed Colorado House Bill 16-1432, Personnel Files Employee Inspection Right (the “Bill”), into law. The Bill, which provides certain current and former private-sector employees the right to access and obtain a copy of their personnel files, will take effect on January 1, 2017.

Colorado Expands Pregnancy Discrimination Law

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has signed into law a bill that makes it an unfair employment practice if an employer fails to provide reasonable accommodations to a job applicant or an employee for conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.

Pre- and Post-Partum Protection: Colorado Enacts A Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

States and municipalities around the country are increasingly providing more protection for pregnant employees. As recently as April 2016, San Francisco became the first municipality to enact fully paid parental leave for up to six full weeks.1 More than a dozen states have passed laws protecting the rights of pregnant workers with respect to leaves, accommodations, and related issues.2 Colorado has now joined the ranks.

Colorado Employers Face New Pregnancy Accommodation Law

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed new antidiscrimination protections for pregnant applicants and employees into law on June 1. This addition to Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA) will soon require employers to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant applicants and employees upon request, or face discrimination claims if they fail to do so or otherwise discriminate against those making such a request. Here are a series of FAQs to help you better understand the new obligations that will soon be in effect.

Colorado Expands Anti-Discrimination Act With Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

On June 1, 2016, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed into law Colorado’s Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. The act, which becomes effective on August 10, 2016, amends the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA) and requires employers to accommodate medical conditions and limitations stemming from pregnancy that may not separately qualify as disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In addition, the act imposes new posting and notification requirements for employers. Also, unlike the ADA, which applies only to employers with 15 or more employees, CADA and the new act apply to all employers, even those with only 1 employee.

U.S. Supreme Court Denies Permission For Lawsuit Seeking to Invalidate Colorado’s Legalization Of Marijuana

The U.S. Supreme Court denied a motion filed by the states of Nebraska and Oklahoma for leave to file a complaint against the state of Colorado, challenging that State’s legalization of marijuana. The Supreme Court denied the motion without opinion or explanation on March 21, 2016.

U.S. Opposes Lawsuit By States Seeking To Overturn Colorado Legalization of Marijuana

The U.S. Solicitor General filed a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court December 16, 2015 opposing Nebraska and Oklahoma’s challenge to Colorado’s legalization of marijuana. Last December, the states of Nebraska and Oklahoma filed a motion in the U.S. Supreme Court seeking permission to file suit against the state of Colorado, arguing that Colorado’s legalization of marijuana is unconstitutional. They argue that the “legal” marijuana in Colorado overflows into its neighboring states, creating law enforcement problems for those states. Among other things, Nebraska and Oklahoma argue that Colorado’s law is preempted by federal law which provides that marijuana is illegal. We blogged about that motion here.

CDLE’s Official Guidance on Use-It-Or-Lose-It Vacation Policies: Still Prohibited

The use of so-called “use-it-or-lose-it” vacation pay policies is receiving significant attention in Colorado, both from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) and from employers trying to make sense of the CDLE’s recent announcements.

Colorado Labor Division Guidance Clarifies Forfeiture of Vacation Pay Sometimes Permissible

Colorado employers are not required to provide their employees any paid vacation benefit. However, when they do, clear “use-it-or-lose-it” provisions in vacation policies are valid under certain conditions under the Colorado Wage Claim Act, according to the Colorado Division of Labor’s guidance on vacation pay.

Colorado Department Of Labor "Clarifies" Vacation Pay Position

In late September of this year, the Colorado Department of Labor (CDOL) announced that “use-it-or-lose-it” vacation policies would no longer be permitted pursuant to its enforcement policy. However, mere weeks later, the CDOL reportedly acknowledged to the Denver Post that the materials it issued on this subject were “not clear.”

Colorado Division of Labor Issues New Guidance on "Use-It-Or-Lose-It" Vacation Policies, But Questions Remain

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment's Division of Labor has promulgated new guidance on "use-it-or-lose-it" vacation policies. While the Colorado Division of Labor has taken no enforcement position on use-it-or-lose it policies for many years, the Wage Protection Act of 2014 gave the Division new enforcement authority to adjudicate complaints for unpaid wages (including earned vacation time). As such, the Division now feels that it is in a position where it must take a formal position on vacation policies.

Colorado Employers Face Significant Change In Vacation Pay Law

“Use-it-or-lose-it” vacation pay policies are no longer permitted under Colorado wage and hour laws, according the Colorado Department of Labor Division of Employment’s current enforcement policy.

Colorado Employers Handed Medical Marijuana Victory

On June 15, 2015, the Colorado Supreme Court held in a unanimous decision that employers are still free to prohibit employee marijuana use in their workforces, and can still discipline and terminate employees who test positive for the drug, despite state law permitting its recreational and medicinal use. In so doing, the Court issued an employer-friendly opinion that will have wide-ranging implications for all Colorado employers. Coats v. Dish Network.

Colorado Supreme Court Upholds Termination of Employee for Medical Marijuana Use

On June 15, the Colorado Supreme Court provided good news to Colorado employers that prohibit employee marijuana use. In the long-awaited decision in Coats v. Dish Network, the court ruled that medical marijuana use—which is permitted under state law but prohibited under federal law—is not a “lawful activity” under Colorado’s lawful activities statute.

Colorado Supreme Court Affirms Right to Discharge Medical Marijuana User Who Tested Positive in Violation of Zero Tolerance Policy

Today, the Colorado Supreme Court issued its long-awaited opinion in Coats v. Dish Network, No. 13SC394 (June 15, 2015). The court held that Colorado’s lawful off-duty conduct statute does not prohibit employers from discharging employees who choose to use marijuana for medical purposes off-duty and away from their employers’ places of business, even when there is no evidence that such use affected job performance or that an employee was otherwise impaired while at work.

Up in Smoke? Colorado's Highest Court Upholds Termination of Employee for Off-Duty Medical Marijuana Use

In a closely watched case involving the use of medical marijuana by an employee, the Colorado Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the lower courts’ rulings that businesses may fire employees for being under the influence of medical marijuana, even if that use takes place off the job.

Changes Coming To Colorado Discrimination Claims

On January 1, 2015, changes to Colorado’s employment anti-discrimination statute will go into effect, drastically impacting employers facing employment discrimination claims. The changes will significantly expand the remedies available under the statute, and will make it easier and more attractive for employees to file discrimination lawsuits in state court rather than alleging violations of federal law.

New Colorado Wage Law Expands Coverage And Enforcement Methods

The Wage Protection Act of 2014, signed by Gov. John Hickenlooper on May 29, expands the state’s wage payment law to include additional types of claims, and grants the Colorado Division of Labor in the Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) more authority and resources to pursue wage claims on behalf of employees. The law applies to nearly every private employer in Colorado who employs even a single employee.

Colorado Legislative Wrap-Up

The 2013 Colorado legislative session resulted in three new laws that are significant for employers. First, effective July 1, 2013, employers will face new restrictions on their ability to obtain and use consumer credit information for making employment decisions related to employees and applicants. Also effective July 1, 2013, employers will be prohibited from requesting applicants’ and employees’ social media passwords. Third, effective January 1, 2015, the remedies available under the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act will be expanded, allowing workers to receive greater damages under the Act.

Colorado Family Care Act To Go Into Effect

On May 3, 2013, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed into law the new Family Care Act (FCA). The law attempts to broaden the qualifying reasons for employee leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Denver Voters Reject Paid Sick Time Ordinance

As of 11:50 p.m. on November 1, 2011, the City and County of Denver Coordinated Election results were in. By a margin of 66,719 votes (64.02%) against to 37,498 votes (35.98%) in favor, Ballot Initiative 300 - the Denver Paid Sick and Safe Time Ordinance, failed

Colorado Court of Appeals Issues Employer-Friendly Decision in Medical Marijuana Case

The Colorado Court of Appeals recently issued an important decision that sheds some light on the murky intersection between medical marijuana use and employment law. Colorado first passed amendments to the state Constitution in 2000, protecting medical marijuana users from criminal prosecution. In 2009, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) would end raids on state-approved marijuana dispensaries. Since then, the number of dispensaries and individuals seeking medical marijuana in Colorado exploded. Employers have been left in the dark regarding what to do with employees holding medical marijuana cards and how to handle employees’ use of medical marijuana. Although Beinor deals with the denial of unemployment compensation benefits, it is the first case reviewed by an appellate court in Colorado regarding medical marijuana in the employment context, and provides a favorable result for employers. Beinor v. Industrial Claim Appeals Office, No. 10CA1685, Colorado Court of Appeals (August 18, 2011).

Denver’s Proposed Paid Sick and Safe Time Ordinance Moves Forward

In November 2011, Denver voters will decide whether to pass the proposed Denver Paid Sick and Safe Time Ordinance, which would require employers to provide paid sick and safe time leave to employees who work in Denver. The ordinance is one of the latest pieces of paid sick time legislation that is making its way to the ballot box by advocates across the country, including the National Partnership for Women & Families.

Proposed Denver Paid Sick and Safe Time Ordinance: Nothing To Sneeze At

Promoting public health? Sounds good. Making sure working adults stay at home when they are sick? I'm on board. Flexible and supportive working environment? Of course, who doesn't want that.

Proposed Amendments to Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act to Add Compensatory and Punitive Damage Remedies Die in House Committee

n April 6, 2011, the Job Protection and Civil Rights Enforcement Act of 2010 (SB-72) died in House Committee by a close 5-4 vote. SB-72 was a bill similar to previous bills that have been introduced the last two years to amend the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA) to allow for compensatory and punitive damages in employment discrimination cases brought under state law.

Colorado Supreme Court Says Continued At-Will Employment Is Sufficient Consideration For Noncompetition Agreement

On May 31, 2011, in a decision critical to non-compete law in Colorado, the Colorado Supreme Court issued its holding in Lucht's Concrete Pumping Inc. v. Horner (PDF). I previously blogged about the fluctuating state of Colorado's non-compete law given the decisions below in the Lucht's case -- Colorado Non-Compete Law in Flux (October 7, 2010). For many who have been watching and waiting, The Decision (my sport's reference for the day...go Heat) has arrived, and it's favorable for employers.

Colorado eAuthority (June 2010).

New Colorado Medical Marijuana Laws Provide Additional Guidance for Employers.

New Leave Requirement For Colorado Employers.

It's time for Colorado employers to update their employee handbooks. On June 1, 2009, Gov. Bill Ritter signed the "Parental Involvement in K-12 Education Act," which will take effect on August 5, 2009. This new law requires Colorado employers with 50 or more employees to grant up to six hours per month (up to 18 hours per academic year) of unpaid leave for the purposes of attending an academic activity for or with the employee's child.
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