Colorado’s Equal Pay for Equal Work Act

Earlier this month, I attended a party to celebrate Colorado’s passage of its own equal pay act, which includes some unique provisions to eradicate pay discrimination.  In addition to the somewhat predictable provisions (prohibiting an employer from paying an employee of one sex less than an employee of a different sex for “substantially similar work”  regardless of job title, and prohibiting discrimination or retaliation for exercise of rights under the law), Colorado’s Equal Pay for Equal Work Act (the Act), C.R.S. § 8-5-101 et. seq., endeavors to attack the roots of disparate pay via the following mechanisms:


  • Posting of Employment Opportunities. Employers must make reasonable efforts to post all opportunities for promotion to all current employees, which posts must include the hourly or salaried pay rate range (C.R.S. § 8-5-201).
  • Keep Records of Job Descriptions.  An employer must keep records of job descriptions and wage rate history for its employees for the duration of each employment position, and two additional years (C.R.S. § 8-5-202).
  • An Employee Has the Right to Decline to Reveal Pay History. Employment verification practices that include inquiry regarding a former employee’s wages must be changed to remove that question. An employer may not discriminate or retaliate against (current or prospective) employees because the employee declines to reveal pay history (C.R.S. 8-5-102).
  • Pay History Should Not Be Considered in Determining Future Pay. Specifically, the Act prohibits an employer from relying on pay history to determine the rate of pay of an employee hired into a new position, and by implication and directive, requires employers to eliminate pay history as a determinant of future pay for existing employees (C.R.S. § 8-5-102; 8-5-203).
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