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Note: the following FAQs relate to individual claims. If you are under investigation regarding multiple employees and have received a document titled “Notice of Investigation”, please direct your questions to the sender of that notice.
The Division of Labor Standards and Statistics assists employees performing work in Colorado with the recovery of earned compensation not paid in accordance with Colorado Wage and Hour Law. The wage complaint process is a free service and is available to current and former Colorado private sector employees, regardless of immigration status. The Division acts as a neutral third party who investigates and determines if violations of Colorado wage and hour law have occurred.
Once a complete Wage Complaint Form is received and reviewed, a letter is sent to the employer explaining the nature of the complaint and the amounts alleged to be owed. The employer is given the opportunity to respond to the complaint and provide documentation.The Division is required to issue a determination within 90 days of sending the letter to the employer, unless we notify the parties in advance of good cause to extend the investigation. At the end of the investigation, the Division sends a determination to both parties, along with information on appeal and termination rights.
The Division’s investigation process (from filing of a complaint to determination) may take months, depending on the complexity of the claim and the other claims being processed.
If deductions were taken, documentation validating the deductions pursuant to C.R.S. § 8-4-105.
If the Division does not receive a complete response to the Notice of Complaint, the Division may assume that all of the allegations contained in the wage claim are true and may issue a Citation and Notice of Assessment based on those allegations. The Citation and Notice of Assessment may order you to pay the fullest possible penalties and fines allowed by law.
Pursuant to C.R.S. § 8-4-113(1)(b), the director shall impose a $250 fine on an employer who fails to respond to a notice from the Division to which a response is required.
Further, Pursuant to C.R.S. § 8-4-103 an employer is required to retain pay statement records for at least three years after the wages were due and have them available for inspection by the Division. If you fail to provide the pay statement records, the Division may impose a $250 fine per employee, per month, up to a maximum fine of $7,500.
If you need more time to obtain the necessary documentation and respond, please contact the Division immediately to discuss an extension. An extension to respond does not extend the 14 day deadline to pay the full wages owed to potentially avoid penalties pursuant to C.R.S. § 8-4-109(3).
The Notice of Complaint serves as a written demand for payment of wages from the claimant. Pursuant to C.R.S. § 8-4-109(3), if an employee’s wages are not paid within 14 days after a written demand is sent to the employer, the employer is liable for the wages owed and an additional penalty of either 125% of the amount owed or the claimant’s average daily earnings up to 10 days, whichever is greater. If the employer is found to have failed to pay any amounts owed to the claimant within the 14th day of the Notice, the Division may assess penalties for late payment of wages that are payable to the claimant.
The parties can choose to enter into a settlement agreement during the investigation by using the Settlement and Voluntary Dismissal of Wage Claim Agreement. This form is provided to the parties as a courtesy only. The Division takes no position on whether the parties should settle this claim. If the employer and the claimant choose to settle, a copy of the agreement signed by both parties must be received (not just sent) by the Division within seven (7) days after the date by which both parties signed the agreement. You may wish to consult with a lawyer prior to signing the agreement. The Division cannot provide you with legal advice related to this agreement.
If you decide to negotiate a settlement with the claimant, the Division must still receive your written response to the Notice of Complaint within 14 days of the date of the letter to avoid possible mandatory fines and penalties. However, if a freely completed, not coerced, Settlement Agreement signed by both parties is received prior to the expiration of the 14 days and the claimant receives payment of the agreed upon amount within the timeframe specified in the agreement, the investigation will be closed and you may forgo the written response.
Pursuant to C.R.S. § 8-1-115, the Division's final decision issued to an employer for violation of a wage law shall be treated as a public record after all administrative remedies have been exhausted. The Division shall treat the final decision as a public record, unless the Director makes a determination that the final decision contains trade secret information. The Division will publish the final decision after redacting the trade secret information, if possible.
An employer may designate information submitted to the Division as proprietary, a trade secret, or privileged information in accordance with C.R.S. § 24-72-204(3). Information that may constitute a trade secret includes, but is not limited to, client lists, bids on contracts, inventions, designs, business methods, software algorithms, recipes, etc. If you have questions about what constitutes a trade secret under Colorado law, please contact a private attorney.
For specific questions on a claim, please contact the Compliance Investigator that sent you the notice. You will find their direct contact information in the signature line of the letter. Please make sure to have the Notice of Complaint or the claim number available at the time of your call.
Employer Response FormSettlement and Voluntary Dismissal of Wage Claim AgreementLaws, Regulations and GuidanceAmended Colorado Minimum Wage Order Number 35 (effective 1/1/20)Colorado Wage Act § 8-4-101, et seq.,C.R.S.Colorado Wage Protection Act Rules
Colorado Division of Labor Standards and Statistics | 303-318-8441 |Toll Free: (888) 390-7936 | firstname.lastname@example.org