Other laws. It was made unlawful for a per- son or entity to enter into a contract or agree- ment for labor or services with a construc- tion, farm labor, garment, janitorial, or secu- rity guard contractor, where the person or entity knows or should know that the con- tract or agreement does not include funds sufficient to allow the contractor to comply with all applicable local, State, and Federal laws or regulations governing the labor or services to be provided. This does not ap- ply to a person or entity who executes a collective bargaining agreement covering the workers employed under the contract or agreement, or to a person who enters into a contract or agreement for labor or services to be performed on his or her home residences. A rebuttable presumption is established that the law is not violated if the labor contract or any material change to the labor contract is in writing, contained in a single document and meets certain requirements including identifying the person or entity, the labor or services to be performed, the number of workers to be employed, the total amount of wages to be paid, and when payment is to be made.
Where a person claiming to be aggrieved by an unlawful employment practice is rep- resented by private counsel—and not the Department of Fair Employment and Hous- ing—the private counsel will now serve the complaint. In either case, service is to be completed within 60 days rather than 45 days as was previously required.
A resolution was adopted recognizing March 31st as the anniversary of the birth of Cesar Chavez, and calling upon all Califor- nians to participate in appropriate obser- vances to remember him as a symbol of hope and justice to all persons.
Wages. The State compensation for employ- ment law was amended to exclude the State or its agencies from coverage. Additionally, wages or compensation now includes vaca- tion pay, if an employer provides paid vaca- tions, and bonuses or commissions earned for labor or services performed, but not sev- erance pay. Also, employers may make de- ductions for the amount of money or value of property that employees failed to pay or return to an employer as long as the em- ployer pays the balance due within 10 days of termination of employment. There is no authorization for deductions below the Fed- eral minimum wage. If wage payments are not mailed to the place of receipt within the 10 days, the employer will be liable to the
employee for a penalty. If an employer is indebted to an employee at his or her time of death, the employer must pay the amount due to the deceased employee’s surviving spouse. If the employee’s wage claim is dis- puted by the employer, and the employer makes legal tender of the amount believed due, the employer is not liable for a penalty unless the employee receives more wages than tendered, in a legal action. If the em- ployee fails to receive a greater sum in a legal action, he or she must pay the cost of the action and the employer’s attorney fees.
A resolution was adopted proclaiming April 15th, 2003, to be Equal Pay Day in Colorado and urging Colorado citizens to rec- ognize the full value of women’s skills and significant contributions to the labor force, and further encouraging employers to con- duct an internal pay evaluation to ensure women are being paid fairly. April 15th sym- bolizes the day on which wages paid to American women catch up to the wages paid to men from the previous year.
Equal employment opportunity. The Com- mission on Human Rights and Opportuni- ties and the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women are to provide a minimum of 10 hours of training a year concerning State and Federal discrimination laws and tech- niques for conducting internal investigations of discrimination complaints to persons des- ignated by State agencies, departments, boards or commissions as affirmative action officers and to persons designated by the Attorney General to represent the entities before the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In addition to completing this training, affirmative action officers are to be responsible for mitigating any discriminatory conduct within the agency, department, board or commission; investigating all complaints of discrimination made against the State agency, department, board or commission; and report all findings and recommendations upon the conclusion of an investigation to the commissioner or director of the State agency, department, board or commission for proper action.
Wages. As the result of prior legislation, the State minimum wage rate rose to $6.90 per hour, from $6.70, on January 1, 2003, and to $7.10 per hour on January 1, 2004.
Family issues. The family and medical leave law was amended to require employers to give employees the right to use up to 2 weeks of accumulated sick leave to attend to a serious health condition of a son or daughter, spouse or parent of the employee, or for the birth or adoption of a child of the employee. It will be unlawful for an em- ployer to discharge, threaten to discharge, demote, suspend or in any manner discrimi- nate against an employee for using, or at- tempting to use, the leave. The law was also amended to change the method of de- termining the eligibility for use of family and medical leave. Previously, entitlement was for a total of 16 workweeks of leave during any 24-month period, with the 24- month period beginning with the first day of leave taken. Now it will be determined using any one of the following methods: 1) consecutive calendar years; 2) any fixed 24- month period, such as two consecutive fis- cal years or a 24-month period measured forward from an employee’s first date of employment; 3) a 24-month period mea- sured forward from an employee’s first day of leave taken under the law; or 4) a rolling 24-month period measured backward from an employee’s first day of leave taken.
The act concerning alternative dispute resolution procedures and complaint repre- sentation before the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities was amended to provide that the commission may, rather than must, adopt regulations to establish procedures and standards for alternate dis- pute resolution. In complaint hearings, it is now provided that if the Attorney General or the commission counsel determines that the interests of the State will not be ad- versely affected, the attorney for the com- plainant is to present all or part of the case in support of the complaint.
Worker privacy. No employee assistance professional, employee or State employee will be required to disclose any information or records concerning or confirming his or her voluntary participation in an employee assistance program sponsored or authorized by an employer or the State or any of its agencies. No employee assistance program may disclose any information or records con- cerning or confirming an employee’s volun- tary participation in the program without his or her prior written consent, except where disclosure is necessary to prevent harm to the employee or others.
The law guaranteeing employees access to their personnel files was amended to specify that “personnel file” includes elec- tronic mail and facsimiles pertaining to a par- ticular employee that has been used by an employer in making a personnel decision.
Monthly Labor Review