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Putting the Bow on Colorado’s 2024 Legislative Session

    May 16, 2024
    By Michael Santo, COSHRM Legislative Director and Managing Attorney at Bechtel & Santo

    The 120 day-journey of the Colorado Legislature came to a close on May 8, 2024, with fewer Human Resources bills sitting on the Governor’s desk for signature than many speculated there would be. In fact, the 2024-Legislative Session in Colorado was kind of a little quiet in terms of HR-related bills. Not that anyone is complaining considering the last three or four legislative sessions. That said, while there weren’t a lot of bills, there are a number of interesting ones still awaiting the Governor’s signature. And, yes, you can be forgiven if you’re singing the Schoolhouse Rock song, “I’m Just a Bill” in your head right now: (“I’m just a bill. Yes, I’m only a bill. And I’m sitting here on Capitol Hill.”) 

    Here’s a summary of some of the HR-related bills that are either on, or will soon be on, the Governor’s desk. 

    Wage Claims Construction Industry Contractors (HB24-1008)
    Definitely one of the more interesting HR bills during the 2024 Legislative Session. This bill, if passed, would provide a construction employee with the right to file a claim against the general contractor on a construction project even though the employee is employed by the subcontractor, not the general contractor. In essence, the bill identifies that both the subcontractor and the general contractor will be jointly and severally liable for the wage claim of an employee of a subcontractor. This bill would also provide general contractors the right to require subcontractors to provide a lot of information regarding the subcontractor’s payroll practices to the general contractor, including whether the subcontractor has participated in a civil or administrative wage proceeding within the last five years. Both the Colorado Senate and House passed this bill and, so, now it’s sitting on the Governor’s desk awaiting his signature. 

    Prohibition Against Employee Discipline (HB24-1260) 
    The bill prohibits an employer from subjecting or threatening to subject an employee to discipline, discharge, or an adverse employment action due to the employee’s refusal to attend or participate in an employer-sponsored meeting concerning religious or political matters. Certain employer communications are exempt from the prohibition, including communications:

    • Required by law, or a court order, or an agreement with a governmental entity to communicate to employees, but only to the extent of a legal requirement
    • That are necessary for an employee to perform the employee’s job duties or
    • That are required to prevent unlawful discrimination or harassment.

    This bill was sent to the Governor for signature early this week and it’s certainly one to keep an eye on. 

    Attorney General Restrictive Employment Agreements (HB24-1324)
    If signed, this Bill would provide the Colorado Attorney General’s Office with oversight mechanisms and enforcement authority over Colorado employers’ use of “training agreements” to restrict employees from leaving the organization that provided the training.  As you’ll recall, in 2022, the Colorado legislature passed a law that permitted organizations to require workers to agree to pay the employer back for the employer’s expense(s) of educating and training the worker where the training is distinct from normal, on-the-job training.  That law provided that the employer’s recovery was limited to the reasonable costs of the training and provided that the employer’s recovery of the expenses had to decrease proportionally the longer the employee remained employed.

    This year, the Colorado Legislature passed HB24-1324, and sent it to the Governor, due to concerns that some Colorado companies were using these agreements to keep employes wedded to the company. As Representative Clifford, the sponsor of the bill, explained:

    We have someone in my district who got a job at a pet store, was promised free on-the-job training, and when they left that store, they ended up owing the store $5,000 for their training. The store filed credit bureau information on them showing that they owed that, and they were like, ‘We didn’t even earn $5,000 in this job.’

    The timing of this Bill is particularly interesting in that the Federal Trade Commission recently issued a final rule announcing that the FTC will, starting in September 2024, consider it an unfair method of competition for persons to, among other things, enter into non-compete agreement with workers. So, while the Colorado legislature seeks to limit an employer’s use of these agreements, the FTC is seeking to make all noncompete agreements invalid. 

    Include Hair Length in the Crown Act (HB24-1451)
    In 2020, the Colorado legislature enacted the “Crown Act of 2020.” This Act specified that, for purposes of anti-discrimination laws, one’s hair texture, hair type, and protective hairstyles were considered to be a protected classification. This 2024 bill adds “hair length” that is commonly or historically associated with race to that list. In short, if signed by the Governor, HB24-1451 would add “hair length” commonly associated with a race to the list of protected classifications. 

    In short, while there weren’t a lot of HR-related bills this year at the Colorado legislature, there certainly were some interesting ones. And, as long as we’re on the topic of the Colorado legislature, only 235 days until the 2025 Legislature convenes. Set your watches!!!!

    Questions? Email