At the Law Office of E.C. Lewis, we provide a wide range of legal services for businesses in Denver and throughout Colorado. In order to provide the best possible guidance to our clients, we’re constantly monitoring the latest laws and regulations impacting small businesses throughout the state. Below is a rundown of some recent changes to Colorado law that business owners should be aware of.

Businesses Cannot Ask for Any Age-Related Information from Job Applicants

In 2023, Colorado passed the Job Application Fairness Act. This law, which goes into effect on July 1, 2024, prohibits businesses from asking job applicants for the following age-related information on job applications:

  • Age
  • Date of birth
  • Dates of attendance/graduation from an educational institution

In addition, if employers ask for third-party materials such as certifications and transcripts, they must inform the applicant that they have the right to redact any information on these documents related to the prohibited age-related items listed above.

The purpose of this law is to prevent age discrimination during hiring, as approximately 40% of hiring managers have admitted to age bias when reviewing resumes. While this law will primarily benefit older applicants who are the most common victims of age discrimination, it will also likely benefit young applicants who are just starting out in their careers.

There are a few exceptions to this law. Employers can verify an applicant’s age in the following situations:

  • Jobs which have age requirements imposed by federal, state or local law
  • Jobs that have age-related qualifications related to public or occupational safety

However, for these exceptions, businesses cannot ask for the applicant’s specific age; they can only ask the applicant to verify that they meet the requirements associated with the job.

Businesses will receive a warning for the first violation. Penalties for a second violation can be as much as $1,000, and subsequent violations face a fine of up to $2,500. Business owners should review their job application forms now to ensure they are in compliance with the new law before it goes into effect this July.

FAMLI Program Is Now in Effect

The Colorado Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI) program began providing benefits to employees beginning January 1, 2024. This program ensures all Colorado workers have access to paid leave to care for themselves and their family members during certain life circumstances, including:

  • The birth of a child
  • A serious health condition

Funding for the FAMLI program started January 1, 2023, and both employers and employees should be contributing premiums for the program during each pay period. It’s important for businesses to be aware that this program is now in full swing, and employees have the ability to take paid leave for qualifying events. Eligible employees can receive up to 12 weeks of paid leave, and individuals who experience pregnancy or childbirth complications can receive an additional four weeks.

Restaurants Can No Longer Use Polystyrene Containers

Phase 2 of the Plastic Pollution Reduction Act went into effect on January 1, 2024. As part of this law:

  • Large Colorado retailers can no longer distribute plastic checkout bags
  • Large Colorado retailers must continue charging a minimum $0.10 fee per paper checkout bag
  • Restaurants and other retail food establishments are prohibited from distributing polystyrene foam containers (commonly referred to as Styrofoam® containers)

Moving forward, restaurants must use eco-friendly options such as paper or biodegradable products. However, restaurants are exempt from the plastic bag ban and the bag fee since single-use plastic bags are considered important for food safety.

Businesses are allowed to use up any plastic bags and polystyrene containers purchased before January 1, 2024, but once this supply runs out, they must make a full transition to more eco-friendly products. There is a warning for the first violation, a $500 fine for a second violation, and up to $1,000 fine for subsequent violations.

Colorado Pay Transparency Amendments Are in Effect

New amendments to Colorado’s Equal Pay for Equal Work Act took effect on January 1, 2024. These new regulations place the following requirements on business owners:

  • Employers must place application deadlines on external job postings and internal promotion notices
  • Employers must notify any Colorado employee who will regularly work with a new hire or promotion within 30 days of the hiring/promotion decision
  • Employers must inform employees in roles with a defined, objective career progression of the requirements for advancement and what the pay increase will be if they are promoted

In addition, businesses with open job positions that are primarily performed in Colorado, or that can be performed in Colorado (such as remote positions), must include the following information in the job posting:

  • Hourly rate or salary compensation range
  • General description of bonuses, commissions or other forms of additional compensation associated with the job
  • General description of all employment benefits being offered, including healthcare benefits, retirement benefits and paid days off
  • Application deadline
  • How to apply for the job

Language Access in Insurance Documents Law Now in Effect

A new law went into effect on January 1, 2024 requiring insurance companies to provide certified translations of all documents. These translations must be available in every language they advertise in.

As part of this law, insurance companies must provide translations of the following items in every language they use as part of their marketing campaigns:

  • The application or interface the applicant uses to apply for, purchase or receive a quote for a policy
  • Any written coverage forms, including rejections or exclusions
  • The insurance policy, declarations page, explanations of benefits and other policy- or coverage-related documents

Therefore, insurance companies must now be careful about marketing in other languages. If they don’t have the resources to comply with these translation requirements, they will not be allowed to market in these languages.

Colorado Minimum Wage Increase for 2024

As of January 1, 2024, the Colorado has implemented the following minimum wage increases:

  • Minimum wage is now $14.42 per hour
  • For tipped workers, the minimum wage is now $11.40 per hour

It is also important to note that Denver has its own minimum wage which is higher than Colorado’s for individuals who perform services in Denver proper:

  • Minimum wage is now $18.29 per hour in Denver proper
  • For tipped workers, the minimum wage is now $15.27 per hour in Denver proper

Elizabeth Lewis Can Ensure You’re Compliant with New Colorado Laws

Keeping up with the many changes to Colorado laws can be dizzying for business owners. However, failure to comply with these laws can have devastating consequences for your business. Elizbeth Lewis can help make sure your business remains compliant with all changes to state laws that impact your operations.

The Law Office of E.C. Lewis provides comprehensive legal services for businesses. Elizabeth has been helping small and medium sized businesses in Denver and throughout Colorado since 2007. She understands the complex laws impacting businesses in a variety of industries, and she can provide the legal guidance necessary to help your business thrive.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation.