Coloradans find themselves lacking job opportunities thanks to Dem transparency law

A growing number of companies are shunning Colorado applicants for remote work over a new law passed by the state’s Democratic majority requiring wage transparency.

Even firms with just a few employees in the state are required to disclose the pay range or expected salary for each opening they advertise, to include remote positions, according to The Wall Street Journal on Thursday.

The objective of the law is to help narrow gaps in wages between genders and give employees greater access to pay scales. But because companies don’t feel like disclosing that information, they are scrupulously avoiding hiring workers from Colorado.

“Across the internet, an array of job listings state the work can’t be done in Colorado,” the WSJ reported. “At Johnson & Johnson, roles recently posted for a commercial finance senior manager and a senior manager in operations include this caveat: ‘Work location is flexible if approved by the Company except that position may not be performed remotely from Colorado.'”

The paper noted other examples as well.

For their part, businesses consider Colorado’s rule too burdensome to deal with and not a little intrusive. And after the trade group Rocky Mountain Association of Recruiters unsuccessfully petitioned a federal court to bar the rule, they have responded by looking elsewhere for workers.

Legal and labor experts say that technically, the notices don’t preclude Colorado residents from applying for or even being eligible for jobs that come with disclaimers. However, they admit that the notices are likely going to discourage people wanting to work from home from taking the time to apply.

“You can’t stop the internet essentially at a state line. Anyone can apply for anything,” Laura A. Mitchell, a Denver-based attorney at the law firm Jackson Lewis P.C., told the paper “The question comes down to whether or not an employer would actually consider that candidate for the role.”

But rather than consider changing the rule, Colorado officials are instead directing their ire at the companies. The Colorado Department of Labor has launched a probe into at least one complaint about a company’s remote job listing excluding applicants from the state, according to the top official with the agency’s division of labor standards and stats, Scott Moss. He would not name the company involved in the complaint.

“A number of states, including California, have enacted legislation in recent years that ban employers from asking for an applicant’s salary history or added requirements for employers to disclose pay ranges upon request,” the WSJ reported, “One difference in Colorado’s Equal Pay for Equal Work Act—which went into effect in January—is its provision that employers publicly disclose compensation and benefits for each job posting in the state.”

Colorado officials have let employers know they are not required to reveal pay and benefits compensation for jobs that are performed entirely out of state. Also, the rule doesn’t apply to companies posting jobs that do not already have workers in the state. However, if the company has any presence at all in the state, it is required to post salary info, said Moss, even for remote work.

Still, Moss indicated that most companies appear to be complying.

“Our experience has been the law so far appears to be a great success at getting job postings to include the pay,” he told the WSJ.

Some Coloradans are also pushing back, including Aaron Batilo, a software engineer near Denver, who started working remotely in 2019.

He has built a website called ColoradoExcluded.com that tracks companies not prepared to hire remote workers in the state.

“To see companies kind of just taking the stance where they’re like, ‘We’ll hire remotely but we don’t want to consider Colorado,’ it kind of bummed me out,” he told the paper, adding that he supports the pay transparency law.

“The fact that we need some kind of site to track this seems to me like there’s something wrong happening,” he added.

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Jon Dougherty

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