Wage theft is a pervasive issue faced by many workers across the United States, and Colorado is no exception. It can take various forms, including underpayment of wages, repeated late payments, or even a refusal to pay for labor or services rendered. Fortunately, Colorado’s legal framework offers a variety of protections for workers who have been victimized by these practices. If you need legal guidance throughout the claims process, contact our Denver worker’s compensation attorney.
The Definition of Wage Theft in Colorado
The Colorado Wage Act mandates that all employers within the state pay their employees all earned, vested, and determinable wages in a timely manner. Wages, as defined by the act, cover all amounts earned for labor or services undertaken by employees.
These wages can be calculated in any manner, such as by time, task, piece, or commission. Bonuses, commissions, and vacation pay that have been earned under an employment agreement are also classified as wages.
Employers who violate these provisions can face legal liability. In addition to reimbursing employees for unpaid wages, they may also need to pay for unfulfilled benefits, civil penalties, and attorney’s fees.
Instances of wage theft encompass a broad array of infractions, including:
Late or underpaid wages, overtime, and other benefits
Failure to provide paid rest breaks
Unlawful tip pooling or stealing worker tips
Misclassification of employees as independent contractors
Unjust payroll deductions
Failure to reimburse for work-related tools, clothing, travel, and other expenses
Off-the-clock work requirements
Failure to provide paid time off and sick leave as required by Colorado law
Delay in remitting a final paycheck
Failure to pay for accrued paid time off with the final paycheck
How to Report Wage Theft in Colorado
If your employer has stolen your wages, there are several avenues that you can take toward justice. First, you may file a complaint with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE). In your complaint, you must provide a clear explanation, evidence, and an estimate of the amount due to you.
The CDLE may then forward a Notice of Complaint to your employer, who is then required to provide proof that he or she paid these wages. Should the employer fail to meet this burden of proof, or neglect to reply altogether, the CDLE may award the wages owed based on your evidence and levy penalties and fines against your employer.
Alternatively, you could file a private lawsuit against your employer to recover these unpaid wages. In these situations, working with a Colorado wage and hour attorney can streamline this process and help you secure the full compensation to which you’re entitled.
Speak to a Colorado Employment Attorney
Remember, you have a right to fair compensation for your labor and efforts. If you’ve been a victim of wage theft, don’t hesitate to seek the help you deserve. A Colorado employment attorney can provide invaluable advice and guidance during this time, ensuring your rights are protected and your claim is properly filed.
If you suspect wage theft, collect all pertinent information and evidence such as pay stubs, emails or other communication with your employer, work schedules, and any records of your hours worked. Then, schedule a free legal consultation with a Denver worker’s compensation lawyer to discuss your path forward.