Helpful Investigation Information

Division Authority

The Division of Labor Standards and Statistics takes complaints on the violations of Colorado labor law listed below. To submit a complaint, please fill out the online or printable Labor Standards Complaint form.

NO
The Division does not have authority to assist you on the following issues:

  • Independent contractor pay disputes (when such workers are correctly classified)
  • Work performed outside of Colorado
  • Wage complaints already filed in the court system
  • Government or school district employee wages (except sick pay) 
  • Expense reimbursements
  • Severance pay 
  • Discrimination complaints based on race, religion, sexual orientation, familial status, sex, marital status, disability, national origin, and/or ancestry.
  • Employment references; slander or libel 
  • Access to personnel or medical records
  • Health or life insurance coverage  
  • 401K, pension, or savings accounts
  • Taxes

 

YES
The Division may have the authority to assist you on the following issues: 

Monetary Wage Complaints / 
Unpaid Wages 
(of $7,500 or less):

 
  • Final Wages 
  • Work Performed Not Paid
  • Overtime 
  • Minimum Wage
  • Meal Periods Worked
  • Rest Periods Not Provided
  • Commissions
  • Bonuses
  • Vacation Pay/Paid Time Off (PTO) Not Paid Upon Separation
  • Deductions not Permitted by Law 
  • Bounced Paycheck
  • Tips 
    Sick Pay (Healthy Families and Workplaces Act - including for state/local government employees)
  • Other Unpaid Wages
Agricultural Labor Conditions:
  • Heat Safety Rules 
  • Service Provider, Visitor, or Transportation Access 
  • Public Health Emergency Rights
  • Hand-Weeding/Hand-Thinning; Short-Handled Tool Use
Retaliation or Interference:
  • Agricultural Labor Conditions
  • Healthy Families and Workplaces Act)
  • Protected Health/Safety Expression and Whistleblowing (PHEW) Law
  • Wage Law
  • Other Law Enforced by the Division
Non-Monetary Complaints:
  • Wages Paid Late
  • Itemized Pay Statement Not Provided
  • Meal Period Violations
  • Other Non-Monetary Complaint

For More Information

If you have questions about when to use the Labor Standards Complaint form, or about the Division’s authority, please contact us at 303-318-8441 or cdle_labor_standards@state.co.us.

Investigations

  • The Division’s investigation process (from filing of a complaint to determination) may take months, depending on the complexity of your claim and the other claims being processed.
  • Anything you provide to the Division may be shared with the other party to the claim.
  • Do NOT provide social security numbers (whether your own or someone else’s). You can redact (black out) any social security numbers that appear on documents you wish to provide to the Division.
  • It is your responsibility to inform the Division if there is any change in your contact information (phone number, email, or mailing address). Failure to update your contact information may result in delays in processing, or a dismissal of your claim.
  • The Division accepts anonymous complaints. However, anonymous complaints will not be investigated using the Division’s administrative procedure, and will be investigated only at the discretion of the Division. 
  • See Interpretive Notice & Formal Opinion ("INFO") # 2: DLSS Wage Claim Investigation Process for more information about the claim investigation process.

Wage Complaints

The burden of proof used in the Division’s investigations for unpaid wages is as follows:

  • First, an employee must provide an explanation of the claim that is clear, specific, and shows the employee is entitled to wages. The employee must provide sufficient evidence from which both a violation of Colorado wage and hour laws and an estimate of wages due may be reasonably inferred (show your math). An employee must meet their burden before the Division will send a Notice of Complaint to the employer.
  • Then, the burden shifts to the employer to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence (meaning more likely than not), that the employee is not entitled to the claimed wages. If the employer fails to meet its burden, or fails to respond, the Division may award wages and/or penalties to the employee based on the employee’s evidence, and assess fines against the employer.

Retaliation and Interference Complaints

Under the Public Health Emergency Whistleblower Act (“PHEW”) (effective July 11, 2020) (and Colorado Whistleblower, Anti-Retaliation, Non-Interference, and Notice-Giving Rules, 7 CCR 1103-11), the Colorado Healthy Family and Workplaces Act of 2020 (“HFWA”) (effective July 14, 2020) (and Wage Protection Rules, 7 CCR 1103-7), Colorado wage and hour law, and the Agricultural Labor Rights and Responsibilities Act (“ALRRA”) (effective June 25, 2021) (and Agricultural Labor Conditions Rules 7 CCR 1103-15), complaints alleging retaliation and/or interference with the exercise of protected rights or activity may be filed with the Colorado Division of Labor Standards and Statistics. 

Under PHEW, the Division has the authority to investigate a retaliation complaint on behalf of a contractor against a named business, if the business contracts with 5 or more contractors in Colorado each year. The Division may remedy violations with compliance orders and/or penalties. For HFWA and PHEW violations, and retaliation under the Agricultural Labor Rights and Responsibilities Act, the Division can award individual remedies (such as reinstatement and lost pay after a retaliatory firing).

After review of your filed complaint, and an assessment of the resources available, the Division will inform you whether an investigation will be conducted. If your complaint is assigned for investigation, a Compliance Investigator will contact you with next steps, and may request additional information, documents, and/or an interview. If the Division decides not to pursue your complaint, it will issue you a Notice of Right to Sue Letter if the alleged retaliatory action is related to PHEW, HFWA, or the ALRRA. The Division does not handle discrimination complaints based on race, religion, sexual orientation, familial status, sex, marital status, disability, national origin, and/or ancestry. These cases are handled by the Colorado Civil Rights Division (https://ccrd.colorado.gov/, 303-894-2997, DORA-CCRD@state.co.us) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (www.eeoc.gov/, 1-800-669-4000, info@eeoc.gov).

Agricultural Labor Conditions

Agricultural employees (and certain other parties protected by the ALRRA) may file claims for violations of the ALRRA with the Division or in court to seek orders requiring an employer to follow or cease violating the law, money damages, and attorney fees. Unlike laws requiring Division investigation of all unpaid wage claims, the ALRRA doesn’t require the Division to investigate all non-wage-and-hour claims. The Division reviews such complaints and considers whether to investigate them fully, in light of Division resources and workload. The Division notifies parties whether it decides to investigate fully or not; if not, its notice authorizes the complainant to pursue the claim in court.

Agricultural employees may also file claims with the Division for violations of (1) the Agricultural Labor Conditions Rules , 7 CCR 1103-15, including heat rule violations, and (2) PHEW, including public health emergency requirements for agricultural workers.

For More Information

If you have questions about when to use the Labor Standards Complaint form, or about the Division’s authority, please contact us at 303-318-8441 or cdle_labor_standards@state.co.us.