Bill Would Make State Investigations into Wage Theft a Public Record

A Rocky Mountain PBS News investigation has prompted proposed state legislation to improve transparency of information concerning employers’ wage violations.

House Bill 16-1347 would turn previously secret records on whether an employer had violated wage laws into public records. That means that the public would have access to such information as cases of employers who were found to have illegally withheld pay or underpaid their employees.

Rocky Mountain PBS News showed how some employers have made cheating workers a way of business and how state labor authorities and outdated laws have shielded the actions of bad actors from public view.

The existing 100-year-old law has been interpreted as requiring the investigative process to be kept secret, even when issues are resolved. Federal labor investigations, meanwhile, have an easily accessible mobile app.

House Bill 16-1347 makes one caveat: the state Department of Labor and Employment is prohibited from releasing trade secrets, which are deemed confidential. When someone requests information on wage violations, the bill mandates that the department must notify the employer, who then has ten days to respond with further information to show if a trade secret is at issue.

You can read the full text of the proposed legislation here.

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