As much as 130 companies in Colorado owe more than $547,000 in back pay to their employees, according to a list from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (DLE).
The DLE released the names of several businesses that violated the Wage Theft Transparency Act, which has been enacted into law since April 13. As a result of the violations, the state received an additional penalty of $170,750.
In the past, a state regulation prevented a public disclosure of the names of businesses that committed acts against wage laws. However, the state legislature amended the legislation in 2017 that allowed the DLE to issue the list for the first time.
The transparency act’s supporters said that Gov. John Hickenlooper’s signature of the new law meant that responsible employers would be able to compete fairly with suspected violators. In case certain parties fail to reach a consensus on the amount of back pay, there are other alternatives to reach a resolution.
Class action mediation, for instance, serves as an alternative for employers and workers to work out a mutually favorable deal on salary and other compensation disputes.
The DLE’s list included two companies in La Plata County: the Palace Restaurant in Durango and the Adult Learning Center in Ignacio. The Palace Restaurant owed more than $1,100 in back pay to workers, plus more than $1,700 in penalties to a certain employee. A DLE spokesperson said that the fines imposed by the state have been waived after the employee received payment.
Meanwhile, the Adult Learning Center owed almost $500 in back pay with an addition of around $1,900 in penalties to an employee.
The Wage Theft Transparency Act will be helpful not just for employees to recover wage losses, but also maintain competitiveness among businesses in Colorado.