Colorado News & Analysis

  • CO's 'use-it-or-lose-it' vacation laws in flux after new regulations

    Recently, Colorado's Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) proposed certain amendments to the rules promulgated under Colorado's Wage Protection Act (WPA) and the Colorado Wage Claim Act (CWCA) related to the payout of vacation time when an employee is discharged from employment. The proposed amendments, if permanently adopted, will prohibit employers from establishing agreements requiring employees to forfeit unused vacation pay at the end of the employment relationship.

  • New OT rule sparks questions beyond where to set salary threshold for 'exempt' status

    The thought of immigration enforcement agents surrounding a workplace, seizing business records, questioning employees, and even making arrests is worrisome to say the least. But it has been and likely will continue to be a reality for many employers since audits and raids by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are on the upswing. Plus, the Social Security Administration has once again begun sending "no-match letters" to employers that have W-2 forms with mismatched names and Social Security numbers. Now referred to as educational correspondence (EDCOR) or an employer correction request (ECR), the letters require employers to take action to resolve the problem. So the signals are clear: Employers with undocumented workers are on notice that they face serious consequences.

  • Wyoming school district expels longtime employee's ADA claim

    Employers often face long-term accommodation challenges when employees are diagnosed with chronic degenerative diseases. As an employee's limitations increase, the employer's decisions about accommodations—and sometimes continued employment—become more difficult. A Wyoming school district successfully navigated those challenges and recently defeated an employee's disability discrimination claim.

  • Interviews and criminal histories in light of 'ban-the-box'

    Q Based on the "ban-the-box" law, we removed the criminal history question from our employment application, although we still ask it once a person has an interview set up. We are hiring for a job in which the employee will work with troubled youths, and we received an application from an individual who is known by the manager to have a criminal history. Should we interview him as we would anyone else, even though we know his criminal history will prevent him from getting the job? Or can we reject his application based on the job's sensitive nature?

  • Agency Action

    USCIS releases guidance on employment authorization. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in August announced new policy guidance to address its discretion to grant employment authorization to foreign nationals who are paroled into the United States, including those who are otherwise inadmissible. The agency explained that certain foreign nationals may be paroled into the country for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit, but they aren't entitled to employment authorization solely because of that. Instead, they must establish eligibility and apply for employment authorization. USCIS will consider employment authorization for parolees only when, based on the facts and circumstances of each individual case, it finds a favorable exercise of discretion is warranted. The agency said it is taking the action in response to "the national emergency at the southern border."

  • Federal immigration investigations increase dramatically

    In response to an increase in federal enforcement of immigration laws, employers in hourly wage industries should prepare for I-9 audits and investigations by government officials to ensure their compliance with the law. For example, the August raids on seven Mississippi chicken-processing plants that led to the arrest of more than 680 workers are part of a larger crackdown by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Employers should take heed of the federal government's new enforcement efforts.

  • IRS authorizes more preventive services to be paid by HSA-eligible health plans

    The IRS recently issued guidance expanding the definition of "preventive care" that may be covered—possibly free of charge—by a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) that's paired with a health savings account (HSA). While the changes made by the guidance are relatively simple, they have the potential to make HSAs substantially more attractive, particularly to employees who have a chronic condition that is controlled by medication or therapy. Before diving too far into the details, however, it's important to have a solid understanding of HSAs and how they work.

  • Association retirement plans may not be ready for prime time

    The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently finalized regulations allowing multiple employers to offer a retirement plan to their employees through a combined association retirement plan (ARP). In what is becoming a common theme for the agency under President Donald Trump, the new rules are intended to make it easier for small to mid-sized employers to offer such plans to their employees. While they are similar to rules finalized last year that established a new type of association health plan, they go even further by establishing guidelines for professional employer organizations (PEOs) to sponsor retirement plans for their members' employees. Unfortunately, they also may face some of the same problems as those rules, but we're getting ahead of ourselves.

  • They're back! Responding to 2019 no-match letters

    In March 2019, the Social Security Administration (SSA) began mailing educational correspondence (EDCOR)—also known as employer correction request (ECR) notices and formerly known as "no-match letters"—to employers that filed W-2 forms for 2018 containing at least one mismatched name and Social Security number (SSN). You should not ignore the notices. You must ensure you're complying with your obligations to resolve the errors. Failure to comply could result in an I-9 audit by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and/or penalties from the IRS. To avoid noncompliance, you should act quickly.

  • Employers need not verify employment authorization for independent contractors

    Q I know employers are required to verify employment authorization for new employees. But are they required to do so for independent contractors or laborers provided by independent contractors?