Additional Information About Division Authority

The Division cannot investigate the following complaints regarding unpaid wages:

  • Claims in excess of $7,500: Per state law, the Division does not accept wage complaints claiming wages in excess of $7,500. You may still file a claim with the Division for a portion of your unpaid wages, of less than or equal to $7,500. Otherwise, you may wish to pursue this matter in the appropriate court. 
  • Work outside the State of Colorado. If your work was performed entirely outside the state of Colorado, in most cases the Division cannot investigate your complaint. Rarely, the Division may be able to investigate a complaint for work that is physically performed outside the state, e.g. for employees who travel across many states in the course of their work and are “based” in Colorado, such as flight attendants or pilots based out of a Colorado airport.

  • Independent contractors. The Division cannot investigate complaints for amounts owed if you worked as a genuine independent contractor. However, if you were “misclassified” as an independent contractor and are seeking payment of wages, you may be able to file a complaint. If your work was controlled by the employer, the work you did was the employer’s primary work, and/or you did not have your own independent business or trade, but  were hired, taxed, or listed in a contract as an independent contractor and you were not paid your wages, you may have been misclassified. If you were misclassified as an independent contractor, you may file a complaint for wages earned and not paid to you. If you were correctly classified as an independent contractor, you may pursue amounts owed in the appropriate court. You may also wish to contact an attorney for legal advice.

  • State government employers include the state and its agencies, counties, cities, municipal corporations, quasi-municipal corporations, and school districts. If you are a state government employee, you may not file claims for wages with the Division unless unless you are claiming paid leave under the Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (See INFO # 6, 6A, 6B, and/or 6C and 2). If you worked for a state government, your employer may be covered by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). For questions, please contact the Denver office of the U.S. Department of Labor at (720) 264-3250 or www.dol.gov/whd. You may also wish to contact an attorney for legal advice. 

  • Wages were earned more than two years ago. Unless the employer's failure to pay was willful (that is, an intentional or reckless disregard of the law), the wages that you are owed must have been earned in the last two years. While many facts can indicate “willfulness,” if there is a previous court judgment or Division citation against the employer for a wage violation similar to your claim (e.g., overtime, deductions, commissions, etc.),then the Division will find the employer’s conduct inherently willful. Please note, if the wages were owed more than two, but less than three years ago, you may proceed with filing a complaint, but the Division cannot order wages that were earned more than two years ago unless it determines that the employer’s conduct is willful.

  • Expense reimbursement and severance pay. The Division does not have authority over disputes about expense reimbursement or severance pay, as these are not included within the definition of wages under the Colorado Wage Act, Colorado Revised Statute (C.R.S.) § 8-4-101(14).

  • Legal action already taken against the employer. If you have filed a lawsuit or taken other legal action against the employer regarding the events involved in this dispute, per state law, you cannot use the Division's complaint process. 

  • Employer bankruptcy: If your employer has failed to pay you wages, even if the employer has declared bankruptcy, you may still be entitled to financial remedies through a court process, or by filing a claim with our Division against a “joint” or “individual” employer. For remedies through a court process: When an employer files for bankruptcy, its assets are typically frozen (and protected from Division action), and money may not be paid out to all of its creditors, including its employees. However, employees with unpaid wage claims typically have a higher priority than claims of many other employer creditors (in other words, employees’ claims must be paid before many other claims) in bankruptcy cases. To file a claim in the bankruptcy case, you will need to contact the appropriate bankruptcy court within the specified timeframe. You can contact the bankruptcy court for Colorado at: http://www.cob.uscourts.gov/ or (720) 904-7300. For additional information about employer bankruptcy, see the Division's Bankruptcy/Insolvency website page. 

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