Skip to Page Content

Legislative Recap: Winner’s Circle

    May 19, 2022

    By Michael Santo, Managing Attorney at Bechtel & Santo

    Wednesday, May 12, 2022, at 2:58 p.m. marked the 120th and final day of Colorado's 2022 legislative session. While the most anticipated bill of the term (i.e., the POWR bill that would have dramatically altered the discrimination/harassment landscape in Colorado), never came to fruition, there were a number of bills that passed through Colorado’s legislature and are sitting on the desk of Governor Polis awaiting signature. Under the Colorado Constitution, the Governor has 30 days to sign these bills. Some of the more impactful employment-related bills include the following:  

    SB22-234 – Concerning Unemployment Compensation
    While not exactly the catchiest named bill passed by the legislature, don’t let the name fool you – there’s a lot going on in this one. For example, if signed by Governor Polis, the Bill will put more than $600 million towards financially stabilizing the State’s Unemployment System from the State’s general fund. Plus, the Bill identifies that insolvency surcharges won’t stop until the trust fund fills its $1 billion hole. The Bill also made a previously-provided temporary increase in partial unemployment benefits permanent and, also, repealed the requirement that an individual wait at least one week before becoming eligible for unemployment compensation. Additionally, the Bill requires Colorado employers to provide separating employees with the following information: (1) the employer’s name and address; (2) the employee’s name and address; (3) the employee’s identification number or the last four numbers of the employee’s social security number; (4) the employee start date, date of last day worked, year-to-date earnings, and wage for the last week the employee worked; and (5) the reason the employee separated from the employer.  

    HB22-1367 – Updates to Employment Discrimination Laws
    This Bill makes two major changes to Colorado discrimination law. First, it expands the definition of “employee” to include individuals in domestic service. Second, it extends the time limit to file a charge with the Colorado Civil Rights commission from six months to 300 days after the alleged discriminatory or unfair employment practice occurred.  

    HB22-1317 – Restrictive Employment Agreements
    There were two attempts made by the Colorado legislature this year to pass a restrictive agreement bill. The second, HB22-1317, made it to the Governor’s desk and, principally, will greatly limit the ability of Colorado organizations to have a noncompete agreement with their employees; particularly those who are not considered “highly compensated” under the bill, which is identified in the bill as those making over $100,000.00.   

    HB22-1112 – Workers' Compensation Injury Notices
    This bill changes the current 4-day notice period to a 10-day notice period and repeals the tolling and compensation reduction provisions. Further, the bill identifies that if an employer fails to provide a copy of the notice of the injury to the employee or fails to post the required notice to employees, the time period allotted to the employee is tolled for the duration of the failure. This bill was actually signed by the Governor early this year, so it’s slated to become law in a few months.  

    SB22-097 – Whistleblower Protection Health & Safety
    Current law provides whistleblower protections for workers who raise a reasonable concern about health or safety related to a public health emergency. The bill expands the protection to all health and safety concerns regardless of whether there is a declared public health emergency.

    SB22-230 – Collective Bargaining for Counties
    One of the most highly anticipated of the 2022 session would have given county government employees the right to organize a union and engage in collective bargaining. In the end, the bill that passed only provides that right to certain employees. But it’s certain to be one used as a springboard for future bills.  

    Again, while this legislative session lacked the “punch” of last year’s POWR efforts and 2020’s passage of the Healthy Families and Workplaces Act, there were plenty of interesting bills that are sitting on the Governor’s desk for consideration.  

    Questions? Contact COSHRM’s Legislative Director, Michael Santo