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New laws every business owner in Colorado should know about

A number of law changes went into effect on January 1, 2015, a few of which are important for business owners with employees to know about. Two have to do with wage and hour law. A third involves employment discrimination.

First, the state’s minimum wage requirement increases to $8.23 per hour for the duration of 2015, which was a 23 cent increase from the previous year. Employers are not able to assess more than $3.02 in tip income to offset the minimum wage of employees who earn tips under the new law.

Read more on the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment’s website here.

The Wage Protection Act of 2014 also became effective on January 1, 2015 and creates a procedure for the Colorado Division of Labor to follow while investigating and hearing complaints for unpaid wages or compensation. The law also demands that employers keep records of employees’ pay history at least three years after the wages were due.

Ultimately, the Act provides employees with new recourse when making unpaid wage claims, enforces stricter record-keeping demands on employers, and imposes harsher punishments on employers who engage in wage theft.

A full description of the Wage Protection Act can be found here.

Finally, the Job Protection and Civil Rights Enforcement Act of 2013 took effect January 1, 2015, amending the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA) and expanding the remedies for employees who are seeking discrimination-related claims against their employers.

The Act authorizes new penalties for employers who violate CADA, including making both economic and noneconomic damages a possibility for plaintiffs' recovery. The Act also makes potential recovery for plaintiff-employees of businesses with less than 15 employees significantly higher. 

The law in its entirety can be found here.

As you can see, significant changes were made to Colorado's employment laws beginning on January 1. It would be wise for business owners to speak with an experienced employment law attorney to make sure that their employment practices are in line with the new laws.  

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