Appeal FAQs

General Questions

What is an appeal?

An appeal is a written disagreement with a Division of Labor Standards and Statistics Compliance Investigator’s written determination. Any party can submit an appeal. An appeal must be filed in writing. If you file an appeal, you will be required to participate in a telephone hearing (in most cases). You may not file an appeal before you receive a Compliance Investigator’s written determination.

Where can I obtain copies of the Hearing Officer Decisions?

  Hearing Officer Decisions

Where can I find more information about appeals?

Please read the FAQs below. You also may call the Division’s appeals staff at 303-318-8442, email the Division at cdle_ls_appeals@state.co.us (to inquire about appeals of determinations arising from wage complaints or other matters aside from direct investigations), or email the Division at cdle_di_appeals@state.co.us (to inquire about appeals of determinations arising from direct investigations). Please do not direct your appeals-related questions to the Compliance Investigator who issued the determination that you want to appeal.
 
The Division administers many laws and rules. This FAQ is a general summary of how the appeal process works in most cases. The appeal process might not conform to this general summary in certain cases. The Division’s Laws and Regulations Page provides links to the applicable laws and rules, including the specific requirements that apply to appeals. If there is any difference between the applicable laws and rules and the general summary provided here, the specific laws and rules govern.

Filing an Appeal

How do I file an appeal?

If you disagree with a Compliance Investigator’s determination, you may file an appeal by requesting a hearing with a Division of Labor Standards and Statistics Hearing Officer. Appeals must be filed in writing and signed. Forms are available for this purpose, as follows.

Wage Complaints. To appeal a determination concerning a wage complaint, file the Wage Complaint Appeal Hearing Request Form with the Division, or complete the mobile-friendly version of the form (available at https://forms.gle/A8T5uVDoxri5KZ9k6). You can ask us to send you a copy of the form (send your request to cdle_ls_appeals@state.co.us or call 303-318-8442). You also may pick up a copy of the form in-person (633 17th Street in Denver, 2nd floor). Finally, if you created an account using the Division’s online portal during the investigation, or if you received information on how to create such an account, you may file an appeal in the portal. Log into the portal, go to Available Forms, and follow the instructions for filing an appeal.
 
Unless you have filed online (using the portal or the mobile-friendly version of the form), submit your appeal form by email, mail, fax, or in-person, to:
 
Colorado Division of Labor Standards and Statistics
633 17th Street
Denver CO, 80202
Fax: 303-318-8400
Email: cdle_LS_appeals@state.co.us
 
Direct Investigations. To appeal a determination concerning a direct investigation, file the Direct Investigation Appeal Hearing Request Form with the Division. You can ask us to send you a copy of the form (send your request to cdle_di_appeals@state.co.us or call 303-318-8442). You also may pick up a copy of the form in-person (633 17th Street in Denver, 2nd floor). Submit the form by email, mail, fax, or in-person, to:
 
Colorado Division of Labor Standards and Statistics
633 17th Street
Denver CO, 80202
Fax: 303-318-8400
Email: cdle_di_appeals@state.co.us 
 
Other matters. To appeal a determination concerning the Chance to Compete, Credit History, Social Media, Equal Pay for Equal Work, or WARNING laws or rules, file the Combined Hearing Request Form with the Division. You can ask us to send you a copy of the form (send your request to cdle_ls_appeals@state.co.us or call 303-318-8442). Submit the form by email, mail, fax, or in-person, to:
 
Colorado Division of Labor Standards and Statistics
633 17th Street
Denver CO, 80202
Fax: 303-318-8400
Email: cdle_LS_appeals@state.co.us
 
When is my appeal due?
The Division must receive your appeal within 35 calendar days of the date of the Compliance Investigator’s determination. A late appeal will not be accepted. If the postmark is dated within 35 days, but the Division does not receive the appeal within 35 days, your appeal is late and cannot be accepted. It is your responsibility to ensure that the Division receives your appeal within 35 days. You may wish to contact the Division to verify receipt of your appeal.
 
If you are asking for a compliance order to be stayed (see below for more information on this issue), file your appeal and stay request as soon as possible. (Do not wait for the 35 day deadline to arrive.)
 
What do I need to include with my appeal?
Include a statement explaining why you believe the Compliance Investigator’s determination is wrong. At the hearing, it will be your burden to prove that the determination contains an error of fact or law. Your appeal must be signed by either you or your authorized representative. 
 
If you have new documentary evidence to submit (anything that was not submitted to the Compliance Investigator during the initial investigation), you should include it with your appeal. Depending on what type of investigation/claim is at issue, you may need to show good cause for not filing the evidence during the investigation.
 
What constitutes “good cause” for filing new evidence?
The Division may assess any relevant factors in deciding whether there is good cause for the filing of new evidence on appeal, including but not limited to:

  • That the new evidence was previously not known or obtainable, despite diligent evidence-gathering efforts by the party offering the new evidence;
  • That the party failed to receive fair notice of the investigation or of a key filing by another party or by the Division to which the new evidence is responsive;
  • That factors outside the control of the party prevented a timely action or interfered with the opportunity to act, except that the acts and omissions of a party’s authorized representative are considered the acts and omissions of the party and are not considered to be a factor outside the party’s control; 
  • That a determination raised a new issue or argument that cannot be responded to adequately without the new evidence; 
  • That, at the investigation stage, the party offering new evidence requested more time to submit evidence, yet was denied, and in the hearing officer’s judgment (a) the need for more time was legitimate and did not reflect neglect by the party, (b) the denial of the request for more time was unwarranted, and (c) exclusion of the evidence would cause substantial injustice to the party; and/or 
  • That failure to admit the evidence otherwise would cause substantial injustice and did not arise from neglect by the party.

 
What if I disagree with a compliance order? A compliance order is an order to do something other than pay wages, penalties, and/or fines. An employer may request that a compliance order be postponed (“stayed”) pending an appeal decision. An appeal of a determination does not, in and of itself, act as a request for a stay of a compliance order. If you want a compliance order to be stayed, you must specifically request that in the appeal filing. The employer should file its appeal and stay request as soon as possible after the determination is issued. (If possible, do not wait until the 35-day deadline.) A prompt filing ensures that the Hearing Officer has as much time as possible to address the request, before the order takes effect. There is no guaranteed right to a stay. (Many determinations do not include compliance orders, in which case, this section of the FAQ does not apply.)
 
Do I need an attorney?
No. You are not required to be represented by an attorney. You have the right to be represented by an attorney or another individual at your own cost, but whether you obtain representation is up to you. The Division does not represent either party. The Division cannot recommend an attorney or provide legal advice. If you obtain representation, file an Authorized Representative Form with the Division.
 
What happens after the Division receives my appeal?
The Division will review your appeal. If it was timely, signed, and described the alleged error in the determination, then in most cases the Division will schedule a hearing and send you and the other party/parties written notice of the date and time of the telephone hearing. (The Hearing Officer may make a decision on the existing record, without a hearing, in cases involving appeals of coverage decisions by the State Personnel Director.)
 
What should I do after I submit my appeal?
You should notify the Division of any changes to your mailing address or email address while your appeal is pending. You should regularly check the mail and email addresses you provided to the Division for any correspondence related to your appeal. You should review and follow the instructions in “Preparing for a Hearing,” below.
 
I am the employee. My employer paid all the wages and penalties ordered by the Compliance Investigator. Can I file an appeal if I accepted the payment?
No. If you accepted payment for the wages and penalties ordered in the Compliance Investigator’s Citation and Notice of Assessment (for example, you cashed a check), you will not be permitted to appeal.
 
I am the employer. If I file an appeal, do I have to pay the wages and penalties ordered in the Notice of Assessment?
If the Compliance Investigator issued a Citation and Notice of Assessment, you must pay any amount that is not in dispute immediately in accordance with the Notice of Assessment. If you do not pay the wages due to the employee within 14 days of the Notice of Assessment, and if it is determined on appeal that wages are owed, you will not be eligible to pay the reduced penalties offered in the Notice of Assessment (you will be responsible for the full penalty amount), and you will not be eligible for any fine waiver offered in the Notice of Assessment (you will be responsible for the full fine amount).

Preparing for the Hearing

I received a Notice of Appeal Hearing. What should I do?
You should write the date and time of the hearing on your calendar. You should prepare for the hearing by reviewing all the materials in the file(s) sent with the Notice of Hearing. The Hearing Officer’s decision will be based on the information in the file(s), any new evidence accepted into the record, and the information provided at the hearing.

What if I have a schedule conflict with the date and time of the hearing? 
Contact the Division as soon as possible to request a new hearing date if you are unable to arrange your schedule to participate in the hearing. You must explain why you cannot participate in the hearing. The Hearing Officer will grant your request to reschedule the hearing only if you give good cause for your inability to attend.

What if I need an interpreter or other accommodation for the hearing?
You must contact the Division as soon as possible to request an interpreter or other accommodation.

I filed the appeal. What are my responsibilities at the hearing?
In most cases, you must convince the Hearing Officer that there is a clear error in the Compliance Investigator’s determination. In other words, it is your burden to prove that the initial determination contains a clear error of fact or law. In some cases, the burden on appeal is different from the foregoing. You may consult the laws and rules available on the Laws and Regulations Page to find the specific requirements that apply to appeals under various laws and rules we administer. 

Do I have to respond to the Notice of Hearing?
In general, no, but please note the following. First, if you want to submit additional information, you must send it to the Division AND to the opposing party by the deadline listed in the Notice of Hearing. If you do not send your response to the Division AND to the opposing party by the deadline, the Hearing Officer may not consider your response in making the decision. You may need to show good cause for not filing documentary evidence during the investigation. Second, in some types of cases, you may be required to respond to the Notice of Hearing. (The Notice of Hearing will state that requirement, if it applies, and it will specify the deadline for responding.)

What if I want to submit more evidence for the Hearing Officer to consider?
If there is any documentation or other evidence you would like the Hearing Officer to consider that is not in the file(s) you received with the Notice of Hearing, you must provide it to the Division AND to the opposing party at least two weeks before the hearing. The Notice of Hearing will specify the deadline. If you do not send your evidence to the Division AND to the opposing party by the deadline, the Hearing Officer may not consider your evidence in making the decision. You may need to show good cause for not filing the evidence during the investigation.

What if I want to have witnesses testify at the hearing?
If you intend to have witnesses testify on your behalf at the hearing, you must provide their names and phone numbers to the Division AND to the opposing party before the hearing. See the Notice of Hearing for the deadline to submit your witness list. If you do not send your witness list to the Division AND to the opposing party on time, the Hearing Officer may not allow your witnesses to testify. It is your responsibility to make sure your witnesses are available at the time of the hearing and to arrange for your witnesses to participate in the hearing by telephone.

What if I need access to evidence or testimony that is not in my possession or control?
If you think you need evidence or testimony that you cannot obtain on your own, you may request that the Hearing Officer issue a subpoena. A subpoena is an order to participate in a hearing and give testimony and/or to produce other evidence. The Hearing Officer will review your request and will grant it only if you demonstrate good cause. The Hearing Officer will not grant a subpoena request if the evidence sought is too burdensome to produce, or if it would not add anything relevant to your case. 

Please review the Instructions for Requesting a Subpoena. You must ask for a subpoena by filing a completed Request for Subpoena form with the Division at least 14 days before your hearing. You should try to request a subpoena sooner than that deadline, however, to permit time for the Hearing Officer to consider your request, for you to arrange serving the subpoena on the recipient, and for the recipient to produce any specified documents. 

Submit the form by email, mail, fax, or in-person, to:
 
Colorado Division of Labor Standards and Statistics
633 17th Street
Denver CO, 80202
Fax: 303-318-8400
Email: cdle_LS_appeals@state.co.us (or cdle_di_appeals@state.co.us for Direct Investigations)
 
If the Hearing Officer grants your request and issues a subpoena, you are responsible for serving the subpoena on the person from whom you are requesting the evidence or testimony, and on the other party or parties to the case (if different from the recipient of the subpoena), in accordance with the Division’s instructions.

Am I required to present more evidence at the hearing?
No. You are not required to submit more evidence or multiple witnesses at the hearing. If all you have is your own testimony or arguments, be prepared to make your case based on the relevant facts and the applicable law, not based on opinions or philosophical arguments. You may want to prepare a simple outline or summary to keep on-track during the hearing.

Do I need to participate in the hearing?
If you filed the appeal, then yes, you (or your authorized representative) must participate in the hearing, or your appeal will be dismissed. If you did not file the appeal, then you may decide not to participate in the hearing, but you still should try to participate in it, if you can do so. (The Hearing Officer will make a decision based on the information in the record and the information presented at the hearing. If you do not participate, the Hearing Officer will hold the hearing without you, and you will not have the opportunity to present your side of the story to the Hearing Officer.)

Can I come in-person for the hearing?
No. The hearing will be held by phone. All parties will participate by calling the phone number provided in the Notice of Hearing at the scheduled time. Other witnesses should be available to be called by the Hearing Officer during the scheduled time. Do not call the hearing number to contact Division staff or for any reason other than to participate in the hearing at the scheduled time.

What if I want to withdraw my appeal?
If you filed the appeal, and you no longer want a Hearing Officer to hold a hearing on it, you may ask to withdraw your appeal any time before the hearing is held. You may do so by contacting the Division in writing (by email, mail, or fax) and explaining the grounds for withdrawal, or by submitting a stipulation signed by all parties consenting to the withdrawal. Appeals that are withdrawn may not be refiled. If a hearing has already been held, the appeal may not be withdrawn. If you withdraw your appeal, the Compliance Investigator’s determination will become the agency’s final decision.

Participating in the Hearing

When should I call in for the hearing?
Please call in at the scheduled hearing time listed in the Notice of Hearing. Failure to call at the scheduled time may result in dismissal of the appeal or the hearing being held without your participation.

What should I have available during the hearing?
During the hearing, make sure you have readily available: the file(s) sent to you with the Notice of Hearing, and any new evidence you filed on appeal or you received from the other party or parties.

How long will the hearing last?
Plan to be available for at least two hours. If the hearing cannot be completed in that time, the Hearing Officer may order that the hearing be continued on another date.

What happens during the hearing?
At the hearing, you will be permitted to testify before the Hearing Officer, offer evidence if you provided it to the Division and all parties in advance (see above), call witnesses if you identified them in advance (see above), question all witnesses (including the other parties and any witnesses called by the other parties), and make arguments based on the evidence. The Hearing Officer may question all parties and witnesses. The Hearing Officer will record the hearing. If you do not understand what is happening during the hearing, alert the Hearing Officer right away.

Will the Hearing Officer tell me the decision at the end of the hearing?
No. The Hearing Officer’s decision will be made in writing, and it will be sent to you as soon as possible after the hearing.

What should I do if I missed the hearing?
If you failed to call in for the hearing, you may ask for a new hearing. A request for a new hearing must be filed in writing. It must be submitted within 35 calendar days after issuance of the Hearing Officer’s decision or dismissal. It must explain why you failed to participate in the hearing and demonstrate good cause for that failure. The Hearing Officer may grant another hearing date if s/he determines that there was good cause for your failure to participate.
 

Appealing a Hearing Officer's Decision

How do I appeal a Hearing Officer’s decision?
For decisions regarding wage complaints or direct investigations, you may file an appeal of the Hearing Officer’s decision by filing an action for judicial review in a Colorado district court of competent jurisdiction. C.R.S. § 8-4-111.5(5). You must file your judicial appeal within 35 days of the Hearing Officer’s decision. If you do not appeal within 35 days, the Hearing Officer’s decision is final. To learn more about filing a court action, you may wish to contact an attorney or the Colorado Judicial Branch at 720-865-8301 or https://www.courts.state.co.us/.

In some types of cases, the deadline for filing an appeal of a Hearing Officer’s decision, and the place to file your appeal, is different from what is described in the paragraph above. The Hearing Officer’s decision will specify the deadline for filing your appeal and where to file your appeal. You may also consult the laws and rules available on the Division’s Laws and Regulations Page to find the specific requirements that apply to appeals under various laws and rules we administer. 

Terminating the Proceedings

What does it mean to terminate the Division’s proceedings?
The employee (but not the employer) has the right to terminate the Division’s investigative proceedings. If the employee terminates the proceedings, the Compliance Investigator’s determination will be revoked, and neither party will be able to appeal. The employee will retain any right to file an action against the employer in court.

Who can terminate the Division’s proceedings?
Only the employee can terminate the Division’s proceedings. The employer cannot terminate the proceedings.

When can the employee terminate the Division’s proceedings?
An employee’s written request to terminate the proceedings must be received by the Division within 35 days of the Compliance Investigator’s determination.

How can the employee terminate the proceedings?
The employee can terminate the Division’s proceedings by sending written notice to the Division via email, mail, or fax:

Colorado Division of Labor Standards and Statistics
633 17th Street
Denver CO, 80202
Fax: 303-318-8400
Email: cdle_LS_appeals@state.co.us

What happens if the employee terminates the proceedings?
If the employee terminates the Division’s proceedings, the Division will revoke the Compliance Investigator’s determination. If the Division ordered the employer to pay wages and/or penalties, that order will be revoked. The employee will retain any right to file an action against the employer in court, but any determination made by the Division will be inadmissible in any court action. If the employee terminates the proceedings, neither the employee nor the employer can appeal the Compliance Investigator’s determination. It will be as if the determination was never issued.

If the proceedings are terminated, can I appeal?
No. If the employee terminates the proceedings, neither the employee nor the employer can appeal the Compliance Investigator’s determination.

The employer appealed the Compliance Investigator’s determination. Can the employee still terminate the proceedings?
Yes. The employee can terminate the proceedings, even if the employer filed an appeal, as long as the employee’s written termination request is received by the Division within 35 days of the Compliance Investigator’s determination.
 


Contact Us

Colorado Division of Labor Standards and Statistics | 303-318-8441| Contact Us