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Commentary and Analysis Regarding Colorado Law

Employment Trends Now

Catherine Tallerico

As we move into the second quarter of 2018, a few workplace trends to watch for are below:

1) Sexual Harassment.  The #MeToo movement demonstrates that workplace harassment remains a persistent problem.  Thirty-six percent of all Colorado charges filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commissions (EEOC) last year related to sexual harassment. Workplace harassment affects all workers and causes a drag on performance.  It’s time to take a hard look at sexual harassment policies, complaint and investigation procedures, and training programs. Best practices to ensure a safe and productive workplace include:

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Submitted by Catherine Tallerico.On January 1, 2015, a new Colorado Wage Protection Act (“Act”) went into effect, expanding wage claims under the Colorado Wage Act.  The Act gives the Colorado Department of Labor & Employment, Division of Labor (DOL) new enforcement authority to adjudicate complaints for unpaid wages, including earned vacation time.  The DOL’s authority to adjudicate vacation pay claims arises from the Wage Act’s definition of “wages” to include “vacation pay earned in accordance with the terms of an agreement.” Additionally, “if an employer provides paid vacation for an employee, the employer shall pay upon separation from employment all vacation pay earned and determinable in accordance with the terms of any agreement between the employer and the employee.” Colo. Rev. Stat. § 8-4-101.

Last summer, the DOL made statements indicating an intent to find “use it or lose it” vacation policies in violation of the Act.  Such statement would have constituted a change in the DOL’s prior position in which it had permitted such policies so long as the risk of forfeiture was clearly set forth in an agreement.

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