Today, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) adopted final rules to implement the Wage Protection Act (WPA). The WPA gives the CDLE authority to adjudicate wage claims of $7,500 or less brought by current and former employees of private employers in the state. Employees may begin using this new administrative procedure for disputes over wages earned on or after January 1, 2015.
Employees denied proper wage payment or their representatives can file WPA complaints. Under these rules, the CDLE will notify employers of complaints received, and employers will have 14 days to respond. Within 90 days, the CDLE will make its determination and issue either a notice of dismissal or a citation and notice of assessment. If an employer pays all wages owed within 14 days of the citation and notice of assessment, the CDLE may waive or reduce any fines and reduce penalties by up to 50 percent. Either party may request an appeal hearing within 35 days of the CDLE’s determination, and further appeal is available to district court.
The final rules are much the same as the rules proposed by the CDLE in October. The CDLE added language stating:
- When an employee terminates the complaint process within 35 days, the CDLE will revoke any citation and notice of assessment and notify the employer in writing that the action is discontinued and any citation and notice of assessment is revoked.
- Employees are not required to go through the CDLE complaint process before filing wage claims in court
Unfortunately, the final rules do not address the details of the hearing process or clarify the standard of review the CDLE will apply to complaints.
For more on the WPA and on how to put your best foot forward at a hearing, attend our upcoming webinar Defending Colorado Wage Claims: Are Your Pay Practices Ready for 2015? on December 17, 2014, from 10 to 11 a.m. Click here to register.