Colorado Equal Pay Bill

May 28th, 2019 | Joe Rotondo, Vice President of Compliance, Sterling

The Colorado general assembly passed legislation to strengthen the state’s pay equity requirements by prohibiting employers from seeking salary history from job applicants. Once signed, the legislation will become effective January 1, 2021 unless a referendum petition is filed by August 10, 2019; in which case Colorado voters will decide in the November 2020 general election whether the bill will become law.

Please see below for a summary of the bill:

  • The bill prohibits employers from seeking salary history from job applicants
  • Requires employers to post internal job openings
  • Requires employers to list salary ranges on all postings
  • The bill prohibits Colorado employers from discriminating based on sex by paying employees of different sexes differently for substantially the same work, regardless of the job title

Pay differences are permitted if an employer can demonstrate that the entire differential is based on:

  • Seniority system
  • Merit system
  • System that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production
  • The geographic location where the work is performed
  • Education, training or experience to the extent they are reasonably related to the work in question
  • Travel

An applicant or employee who believes that an employer has violated any of these provisions, may file a lawsuit within two years after an alleged violation occurs.

Employers that violate the law’s provisions may be liable for the differential between what the employee was paid and what the employee would have been paid if there was no violation, plus an equal amount as liquidated damages.

Part two of the legislation, “Transparency in Pay and Opportunities for Promotion and Advancement” will require the salary range for a position for both internal and external job postings.  Also, the employer must provide the general description of the benefits and other compensation for the position.  For internal openings, employers must make a reasonable effort to tell all employees about the opening on the same day and prior to making a promotion decision.

The bill will require employers to keep records of job descriptions and wage rate history of each employee for the duration of their employment plus two years after the completion of their employment.

The full text of the law can be found here:

The information contained herein is for informational purposes only. Clients are encouraged to consult with their legal counsel on the impact of this new law. Sterling is not a law firm, and none of the information contained in this notice is intended as legal advice.

This and other important legislative updates can be found on the Sterling website:  Compliance Updates

Sterling is not a law firm. This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.