Jeff Roberts, Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition
April 22, 2016
Information on employers who violate wage laws in Colorado shouldn’t be considered confidential “trade secrets,” a panel of state lawmakers decided Wednesday.
Currently, as Rocky Mountain PBS reported last spring, it is illegal for the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment to disclose whether a company has cheated its workers. Under the state’s interpretation of a 100-year-old law, wage-theft complaints against employers must be kept from the public, even after an investigation is over and a citation has been issued.
HB 16-1347, which passed the House Judiciary Committee 11-0, would make citation and assessment information on wage-law violations available for inspection under the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) after an employer has exhausted all appeals.
“Right now, you can’t even get the information that a wage-law violation has happened and why,” said Rep. Jessie Danielson, the Wheat Ridge Democrat who introduced the bill. She said it’s “kind of ridiculous” the public is not permitted to know which employers have been found in violation of state laws governing the payment of wages, overtime and reimbursed expenses.