Wage-and-hour requirements are the body of law that establishes and regulates wage standards for employees. In addition to wage-and-hour regulations, there are many other federal and state laws that also set rights and duties for employees, labor unions, and employers in the United States. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) administers and enforces most federal employment laws (more than 180.) Several other federal agencies administer laws affecting employment issues: Department of Justice (DOJ), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC,) and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for example. Of course, employers must comply with both federal and state laws, and Colorado has many laws that provide greater protections to employees than federal law.

Major federal labor laws include:

• Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
• Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
• Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
• Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)
• Affordable Care Act (ACA)
• Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)
• Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)
• Davis-Bacon Act and McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) is the principal department of the Colorado government that handles labor law issues in Colorado. In 2020, the Colorado Overtime and Minimum Pay Standards Order (COMPS Order) #36 took effect (replacing the annually issued Minimum Wage Order.) This order is the source of critical Colorado wage rights and responsibilities beyond those provided by federal law. And in 2021, other new and important Colorado employment laws took effect:

• Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (HFWA)
• Equal Pay for Equal Work Act
• Colorado Antidiscrimination Act

Taken all together, laws affecting American workplaces can be complex, and understanding and implementing them within the context of day-to-day business operations is challenging. In wage and hour regulations for example, lawsuits have increased significantly over the past decade, and mistakes in this area are the largest uninsured risk facing employers today. Even the best-intentioned employers can make critical errors on employee pay, and those errors may be costly.

The attorneys at Bechtel & Santo maintain the latest authoritative information on enacted labor laws, and proposed and pending legislation, affecting Colorado employers. Additionally, Bechtel & Santo has represented a large variety of Colorado businesses over the years, and we are adept at helping even the most specialized business, of any size, comply with labor laws. And finally, if your business has received an employee charge or complaint, or is faced with an employment-related lawsuit, the team at Bechtel & Santo has the expertise to thoroughly defend your organization.

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