11/09/2022 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/09/2022 12:33
Published on November 09, 2022
Protects independent contractors
Holds employers "up the chain" accountable
Allows flexible penalties
Establishes a private right of action
What is wage theft?
Wage theft occurs when a worker is paid less than the full wages to which they are legally entitled. It includes overtime violations (failing to pay nonexempt employees less than time and a half for hours worked in excess of 40-hours per week), off-the-clock violations (asking employees to work off the clock before or after their shifts), meal break violations (denying workers the legal meal breaks), illegal deductions, and employee misclassification violations (misclassifying employees as independent contractors to pay a wage lower than the minimum or to avoid paying overtime).
How is this different than criminal wage theft?
This ordinance establishes a civil violation, not a crime. It is a violation between two private parties, not a crime against the city. It allows workers to receive restitution without going to court and no one is at risk of jail time.
Who does this apply to?
Employers (any corporation, proprietorship, partnership, nonprofit, joint venture, association, individual, limited liability company, business trust, or any person or group of persons who employ a worker acting directly or indirectly in the interest of an employer in relation to a worker) operating in the City & County of Denver.
I'm an employer who pays my employees what I owe them and I subcontract with companies that do the same. What do I need to know?
You'll need to post auditor-approved signage, in English and Spanish. If that's not possible, you need to provide the information to workers individually, in the worker's primary language, in a way that is accessible and obvious. You'll also need to retain payroll records for at least 3 years, comply with any auditor investigation, and refrain from retaliating against employees who ask about their rights or file a claim against you.
I'm a worker who wants to file a complaint. How do I do that?
If this legislation passes, the complaint process will be established by the auditor. You'll need to give at least your name, a detailed statement of the alleged violation, and provide any documentation that helps prove your complaint. Someone can help you make the complaint. You must bring the complaint within 3 years of the violation.
If I make an honest accounting error and accidentally short my employee, will I be fined?
The penalties are at the discretion of the auditor and intended to penalize bad-faith employers- those who intentionally withhold wages, do not fix issues within 30 days, and/or do not comply with the investigation.
What happens if an employer pays a worker nothing- violating both minimum wage and wage theft?
The auditor must choose to enforce the violation via the minimum wage or civil wage theft ordinance. No double- recovery is allowed.
What if I, as an individual homeowner, hire a contractor (like a painter)? Do I have to post signage?
No. The law is applicable to those who hire independent contractors as a matter of business, in other words, commercial operations.