Everything You Need To Know About Colorado’s Equal Pay for Equal Work Act

December 23, 2020
Everything You Need To Know About Colorado’s Equal Pay for Equal Work Act

As we prepare to usher in 2021, Colorado employers should add the state’s “Equal Pay for Equal Work Act” to its list of things to consider.

Effective Jan. 1, the new law protects against pay discrimination on the basis of sex (or sex in combination with another protected status). It also forbids an employer from seeking the salary history of employees — preventing them from using that information to determine a wage rate for a position — and requires an employer to disclose certain compensation and promotion information.

Century Group General Counsel, Fawn Wright, breaks down the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act and highlights several areas for both clients and candidates to keep in mind.

Key Takeaways

  • Any employer (public or private) who employ at least one employee in Colorado must comply.
  • Employers are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of sex (or sex in combination with another protected status) by paying employees of different sexes different amounts for substantially similar work, regardless of job title, based on skill, effort and responsibility.
    • Other protected statuses in the workplace include race, creed, color, ancestry, disability, sex, religion, familial status, marital status, sexual orientation, age, citizenship status, genetic information and national origin.
  • Wage differentials may be permitted based on:
    • A seniority system;
    • A merit system;
    • A system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production;
    • The geographic location where the work is performed;
    • Education, training or experience reasonably related to the work; or
    • Travel, if travel is a regular and necessary condition to the work.
  • Employers must not seek salary history from a prospective employee, retaliate against a prospective employee who does not provide salary history, rely on salary history to determine the prospective employee’s wage, or prohibit employees from comparing or otherwise discussing their respective wage rates.
  • For all job openings that could be performed by a Colorado candidate or employee (including promotions), employers must provide the pay range of the position and a general description of any bonuses, commissions, or other compensation, as well as of any employment benefits.
  • With limited exceptions, employers must announce all promotional opportunities to all current employees (except those entirely outside of Colorado) on the same calendar day and prior to making any decisions on the promotion.
  • Employers must preserve records of each employee’s job description and wage rate history through their tenure at the company — plus an additional two years.

Best Practices

  • Review your hiring practices to avoid asking salary history questions.
  • When discussing salary with a candidate, develop a script clearly explaining that you are not asking for their salary history or what her or she is currently making, but are simply asking for their expectations.
  • If the candidate — without any prompting — voluntarily discloses his or her salary, be sure to document in writing the circumstances of the disclosure.
  • If the candidate discloses his or her salary information and it benefits them, you should also document in writing you received authorization from the candidate to disclose this information to the employer.

Are you a client or candidate seeking assistance with your search? Contact us today.

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