Increased Penalties for Employers Committing Colorado Wage Theft
Colorado continues to lead the nation in protecting workers from wage theft and late payment of wages. Colorado recently enacted what is currently known as Senate Bill 22-161 which contains many new protections for workers including additional Colorado Wage Theft protections. See here for a summary and text of S.B. 22-161. Of particular importance are provisions that significantly raise the penalties for wage theft in Colorado and late payment of wages (including enhanced penalties if an employer fails to pay a wage judgment within 14 days). The changes will take effect at the beginning of 2023.
Failure or refusal to pay earned wages is a form of wage theft. Workers are entitled to their wages and having to wait for their wages denies them the opportunity to use their wages for living expenses. Late payment of wages is like a forced loan from workers to employers. This is not allowed, though it seems to be a common practice. Colorado’s lawmakers understand the problem and S.B. 22-161 punishes Colorado employers when they take these unlawful actions.
If your Colorado employer is delaying or refusing to pay your earned wages, call us here at Herrmann Law. We are driven and experienced Employee Rights Lawyers and Wage & Hour Litigators offering legal representation for employees all across the country. Call us at (817) 479-9229.
Colorado Wage Theft Includes Late Payment of Wages
Under the old Colorado laws, the penalties for late payment of wages were generally 1.25 times the wages owed up to $7,500 and then 0.5 times any wages owed over $7,500. Under S.B. 22-161, the penalties will be increased to 2.0 times all wages owed (or $1,000, whichever is greater). In other words, the penalties are almost doubled. Further, the definition of “late payment” is defined as failure to pay earned wages within 14 days of a demand by the worker for payment or the filing of a civil lawsuit or the filing of an administrative claim with the Colorado or other labor department. These are the new penalties for a mistake in payment or where the employer might have a legitimate argument that wages are due.
However, where the worker can show a WILLFUL failure or refusal to pay earned wages, S.B. 22-161 adds even more punishments. For willful refusal to pay wages, the new penalty will be 3.0 times all wages owed (or $3,000, whichever is greater).
As noted, S.B. 2-161 also adds punishments for any employer who delays payment after what is called an “adverse decision” from the administrative divisions of the Colorado Department of Labor. Filing a wage claim with the Colorado labor department is an option for workers whose wages have not been paid. If the Colorado labor department issues a decision in favor of the worker and adverse to the employer, S.B. 22-161 requires payment to be made within 60 days of the adverse decision. Failure to pay within 60 days allows the employer to be punished again. The extra penalties include the required payment of attorneys’ fees and a fine of 100% of the amount determined to be due (or $3,000, whichever is greater). Of this extra penalty, half of this is to be paid to the worker (or workers), and the other half is payable to the Colorado labor department.
Call the Employee Rights Attorneys at Herrmann Law Today
For more information, call the Employee Rights attorneys at Herrmann Law. If you think that your employer has violated your rights as an employee, call us. We are proven, experienced, employee-focused attorneys representing workers across the United States, including workers in Colorado, in all types of workplace disputes.
Use our Online Contact page or call us at (817) 479-9229. We are more than just a law firm for employees – we are an employee’s fiercest advocate, equipping employees with the legal representation needed to achieve the best result possible.