2020 Legal Update: Newsletter

Happy 2020 from PSB Law. We have had a busy year representing clients in employment law, obtaining private disability benefits on behalf of clients, defending clients in non-compete situations and providing legal services and support in business law including buying and selling of a business.

1. 2020 Legal Updates:

a. Wage and Hour Law– Minimum wage and the thresholds for overtime exemption have increased on both Federal and Colorado levels. The new Federal minimum salary required for overtime exemption was increased to $35,568 per year for the executive, administrative and professional exemptions and $684 per week for employees in computer-related occupations. Effective March 1, 2020, Colorado’s salary basis threshold with being HIGHER than the federal threshold, at $42,500 per year. Colorado’s minimum wage is now $12 per hour and it is higher for employees in the City of Denver ($12.85 per hour). Please check out our article describing all of these changes! In addition changes to Colorado’s Wage Claim Act’s definition of an “employer” set up individual liability for individual owners and decision-makers, in wage claim cases.

b. Disability Benefits and ERISA. PSB Law represents private disability claimants who wish to apply for or has been denied benefits under Short-Term and Long-Term Disability Benefits plans. Cases under these plans can be difficult because, under the federal statutory scheme ERISA, the court must defer to the plan administrator’s decision unless that decision is proven by the claimant to be arbitrary and capricious. In 2016, Colorado passed a law that purported to invalidate any insurance plan offering health or disability benefits in Colorado, from containing a provision to reserve such discretion to the insurer C.R.S. § 10-3-1116(2). Cases shortly thereafter held that this statute was pre-empted by ERISA, but recently, the Colorado District Court for the District of Colorado held that this Colorado statute does apply to Colorado plans and is not pre-empted by ERISA. Ellis v. Liberty Life Assur. Co. of Boston, 333 F. Supp. 3d 1083 (D. Colo. 2018), amended, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7089 (D. Colo. Jan. 15, 2019) (Babcock, J.).

c. Employment Discrimination– The Supreme Court granted certiorari and consolidated three cases to decide whether Title VII’s protections protect LGBTQ employees: Altitude Express, Inc. v. Zarda; Bostock v. Clayton Cty.; and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, Inc. v. EEOC, 139 S. Ct. 1599 (2019).

d. Equal Pay for Equal Work. Employers should prepare for the effective date of Colorado’s new pay equity law, which becomes effective January 1, 2021. Two big changes are that employers will be required to post all job openings and keep records of such postings and may not take pay history into account when determining appropriate pay for employees. Please see our article on this topic!

e. Employee Rights to Organize and Share Working Conditions Information– Recent NLRB decisions have focused on preserving employee’s rights to organize and share salary information. Colorado also has a statute that prohibits employers from disciplining employees who share salary information. In a recent NLRA Office of General Counsel’s Advice Memorandum, Coastal Industries, Inc. d/b/a Coastal Shower Doors, Case 12-CA-194162 (October 30, 2018), the NLRB advised that an employer may set rules of civility or conduct in the workplace, an employer cannot ban cell phone or social media use among employees, even during work hours.

f. Proposed Colorado Legislation – In January 2020, new employment law bills are being introduced, including one which would redefine the employee protection against termination for lawful off-duties activities to include activities that are lawful under state law but illegal under federal law, in an effort to protect Colorado employees from being terminated for off-duty marijuana use.

2. New Website With Integrated Blog: Please check out our website at to view new content on non-compete, employment and employee benefits issue, and our blog, which is now integrated!

3. PSB Law Expansion: The PSBLaw Firm continues to expand, and Jonathan, Jeannette and I are here to meet your legal needs. In the past few years, I have expanded my law practice’s capacity by adding in another attorney Jeannette Kornreich, who has extensive experience in employment law, particularly for State of Colorado public employees, and a full-time paralegal, Jonathan Kates.

WISHING YOU ALL THE BEST FOR 2020, Sincerely, PSB Law Firm

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