A new Colorado law (SB 22-161) will make it unlawful for an employer to discriminate or retaliate against an employee who files a complaint or initiates any proceeding under state/federal laws, or testifies or provides evidence (in their own or another’s case), relating to wages or hours worked.
Violations of this new law can lead to monetary judgments (e.g., back pay, reinstatement/front pay, payment of wages plus interest), or injunctive relief as well as civil penalties and a possible class 2 misdemeanor. The new legislation also provides for an award of attorney fees and costs to employees who prevail.
This new legislation, taking effect January 1, 2023, also creates a new division within the Colorado Attorney General’s office. The state’s new Worker and Employee Protection Unit will be able to aid in investigations and prosecutions in furtherance of SB 11-161’s anti-discrimination and retaliatory mandates.