Colorado governor signs 'wage theft' law making violations public
- Colorado’s governor signed a “wage theft” bill into law that makes violators’ records public, reports Lexology. With Governor Hickenlooper’s signature, the Wage Theft Transparency Act becomes law immediately.
- Lexology says the law covers overtime pay and nonpayment of wages, and makes violators’ records public, subject to public requests for information under the Colorado Open Records Act and admissible in court proceedings.
- Records that contain trade secrets are exempt from the law. The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment must notify an employer before releasing its record. The employer then has 20 days to submit documents to the department proving trade secrets are part of the record.
The purpose of transparency laws like Colorado’s, according to supporters, is to help compliant employers compete successfully with violators — a "shaming tactic" to ensure all employers hew closely to state and federal law.
The Obama administration favored a similar style of transparency in handling federal employment law cases, whereas the Trump administration, with its pro-business stand, will likely roll back such "shaming" laws that could publicly harm employers’ reputations. The Trump DOL has already stopped publicly posting Occupational Safety and Health Administration rule violations.
The DOL "blacklisting" rule, which made companies opting for federal contracts disclose their history of labor compliance, was recently repealed by President Trump, as well.
That being said, the states so far have had no qualms with picking up such policies. Transparency rules likely won't go away completely, even in this climate of deregulation. To avoid damaging public “shaming,” employers will want to review their policies and practices around these issues.