Thursday, May 8, 2014

Colorado Will Go To Bat For Workers Whose Employers Steal Wages

Below is the first part of an article by Alan Pyke from It reads…
Workers who have their wages stolen in Colorado will finally get some help from the state under a bill that’s headed to Gov. John Hickenlooper’s (D) desk this week.
The bill, which cleared its final legislative hurdle Monday, will give the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) authority to enforce wage and hour laws by assessing fines and increasing investigative resources. Under the current rules, all DOLE can do for workers who file wage theft complaints is refer them to small claims court. That means even workers who can prove wage theft — any employer action to deprive workers of pay to which they are entitled, such as manipulating timesheets or misclassifying full employees as contractors — are on their own to haul their bosses before a judge. Once Hickenlooper signs, though, the agency will be empowered to investigate the complaints, order employers to pay back wages, and tack on an additional 50 percent fine if investigators find that the theft was intentional. The bill does not impose criminal penalties, however.
But even without taking that tougher line, Colorado’s move looks like progress to Tsedeye Gebreselassie, a Staff Attorney at the National Employment Law Project (NELP). “It’s an acknowledgment that workers need multiple ways to pursue recovery of their unpaid wages,” Gebreselassie told ThinkProgress. “Retaining an attorney and going to court to recover your wages presents a lot of challenges. Many of these workers have very small claims, because they don’t get paid a lot. It’s a lot of money for them, but it might not be enough for an attorney to take their case.”
Marc Primo Pulisci is a Los Angeles based attorney practicing with Initiative Legal Group. Marc Primo Pulisci has been practicing law for over 10 years. Find Marc on Marc Primo Manta Marc Primo Merchant Circle Marc Primo Yellow Book Marc Primo Google Plus Marc Primo Law360 Marc Primo Zoho Docs Marc Primo BlogspoMarc Primo Marc Primo Super Pages Marc Primo PDF’s 

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