You work hard to earn a living. You show up on time and perform your duties to the best of your ability. In return, you expect your employer to pay you the wages that you’re entitled to, on time and without problems. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes, employers inadvertently or intentionally shortchange their employees when it comes to wages. Overtime work isn’t credited, paydays are late or missed altogether, and minimum wage standards aren’t met.
When wages are underpaid, late, or unpaid, it’s the affected employee who suffers. Bills go unpaid. Rent is overdue. Sometimes, even everyday necessities become unaffordable. It’s not fair, it’s not right, and thanks to Colorado law, in many cases it’s not legal.
In general, there are three separate bodies of law that govern wages and hours worked in Colorado:
In general, coverage of Colorado’s wage and hour laws depends on the nature of the employment in question, as well as the nature of the wage and hour dispute between the employee and employer. For example, a person employed in the public sector in a position with a local, state, or federal governmental entity would be covered by the FLSA, but not the CWA or the CWO.
Likewise, a person in private sector employment that is outside of the four industries covered by the CWO would also be covered by the FLSA when it comes to minimum wage and overtime claims. However, a claim for delayed payment of wages, deductions from payroll, or final payment of wages following termination would be covered by the CWA.
Finally, a person in the private sector working in one of the four industries covered by the CWO could rely on that law to resolve issues involving minimum wage, hours worked, and overtime. Once again, any claim involving delayed payroll, deductions from payroll, or final payment of wages following termination would be covered by the CWA.
Each of the wage and hour laws at work in Colorado specifically exempt certain types of workers from coverage. For example, both the FLSA and the CWO have a “white collar” exemption for certain executive, professional, and administrative employees who meet certain criteria. If these criteria are met, an employer is not required to pay the exempt employee overtime or pay the employee the applicable minimum wage for each hour worked.
The criteria necessary to hold a white collar employee exempt from the FLSO and CWO are:
All of Colorado’s wage and hour laws also specifically exempt independent contractors. However, the definition of an independent contractor is different, depending on which body of law is being applied.
The FLSA doesn’t contain a specific definition of what constitutes an independent contractor. Therefore, it has been left to the courts to determine who is and isn’t an independent contractor.
The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals uses six factors to determine employee status:
No one factor is considered dispositive, and each factor is considered in the light of the total circumstances surrounding the matter.
Under the CWA and CWO, the Colorado Division of Labor looks at three factors to determine whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor:
In general, under the CWA and the CWO, an employer is someone who controls the result, and an independent contractor is someone who controls how that result gets accomplished.
Colorado wage and hour law is complex and employers will often make every effort to fight the charges made against them. At Marathon Law, LLC, we use our knowledge of wage and hour law and our experience in these cases to get the results that our clients deserve. Contact us for a free, confidential consultation at 303-704-1222, or via our website contact page.