NewsCapitol Watch


Colorado Senate passes Equal Pay for Equal Work Act

Posted at 10:27 AM, Apr 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-04 12:29:42-04

COLORADO – The bill calling for Equal Pay for Equal Work has made it out of the Colorado Senate and now heads to the House for consideration.

In Colorado, on average women make 15 percent less than their male counterparts- according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The bill looks to address the wage gap by adding requirements for employers to include the pay range in job postings and would allow employees to take employers to court over pay inequality.

“It does away with the sort of insider, hand-picked successor,” said Sen. Jessie Danielson (D- Jefferson County).

One Senator, Vicki Marble (R- Fort Collins) spoke out against the resolution saying, “I’m not sure I agree with all the numbers,” adding “I just can’t take part in something that is so focused against a white man, because frankly, I feel white men have done a lot for this country, and for this legislature, as all men have.”

The bill passed out of the Senate in a 20-14 vote.  Click here to see how your Senator voted.

SB19-085 summary:

The bill removes the authority of the director of the division of labor standards and statistics in the department of labor and employment (director) to enforce wage discrimination complaints based on an employee’s sex and instead permits an aggrieved person to bring a civil action in district court to pursue remedies specified in the bill.

The bill allows exceptions to the prohibition against a wage differential based on sex if the employer demonstrates that a wage differential is based upon one or more factors, including:

  • A seniority system;
  • A merit system; or
  • A system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production.

The bill prohibits an employer from:

  • Seeking the wage rate history of a prospective employee;
  • Relying on a prior wage rate to determine a wage rate;
  • Discriminating or retaliating against a prospective employee for failing to disclose the employee’s wage rate history; and
  • Discharging or retaliating against an employee for actions by an employee asserting the rights established by the bill against an employer.

The bill requires an employer to announce to all employees employment advancement opportunities and job openings and the pay range for the openings. The director is authorized to enforce actions against an employer concerning transparency in pay and employment opportunities, including fines of between $500 and $10,000 per violation.