Contact Boulder office for Safe Harbor Protection : Employer Pay Audits.

Colorado Equal Pay for Equal Work Act – Effective January 1, 2021

The new Equal Pay for Equal Work Act was passed in an effort to help close the gender pay gap in Colorado and ensure that employees with substantially similar job duties are paid the same wage regardless of sex or sex plus any other protected status.  The Act applies to all Colorado employers (public or private) and prohibits employers from paying employees lower wages for substantially similar work on the basis of the employee’s sex (or sex in combination with another protected status) unless the employer demonstrates that it has certain justifications for pay disparity, such as seniority, merit, education, training and geographic location. 

Employees who feel they have been subject to pay discrimination may file a lawsuit and recover back pay and liquidated damages in the amount of the back pay awarded.   However, the Act provides a safe harbor from liquidated damages if an employer can show that it performed a comprehensive pay audit to remedy any unlawful pay disparities within two years of the date the lawsuit was commenced. In addition, employers will also be required to post all jobs, opportunities for promotion, internally with the compensation and benefits included in the job posting and must keep job descriptions and wage/salary history for all positions.   In light of the potential costs of non-compliance, every Colorado employer should consider conducting a comprehensive pay audit before the law goes into effect  on January 1, 2021.  

The Act also contains posting requirements.  Employers must post all opportunities for promotion internally to all current employees on the same day and prior to making a promotion decision. In addition, in all job postings the employer must include the opening hourly or salary compensation or a range of the hourly or salary compensation and a description of the benefits and other compensation to be offered.  Employers must keep job descriptions and wage/salary history for all employees for the duration of the employment and for 2 years thereafter.

Please contact our Boulder office if you have any questions about the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act or would like assistance with finding a consultant to conduct a comprehensive pay audit of your pay practices.