SLOAN | Colorado is cold in the eyes of employers | Columns


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Kelly sloan


A few weeks ago there was an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal. It appears that a number of companies across the country are looking for remote workers from all union states except Colorado, evidently the consequence of a state law passed in 2019 – the equal pay for equal work – which apparently has not been expected.

However, the concept of equal pay for equal work is not in itself particularly subversive, but, of course, for the details of the proposal. One of those details, and the one that’s causing all the seismic disturbance, is the provision for employers to publicly disclose all salary and benefits information in a job posting.

The Journal article explains, “To avoid having to divulge this information… some employers looking for remote workers across the country say those who live in Colorado don’t need to apply. He continues with examples: “On the Internet, a series of job postings indicate that work cannot be done in Colorado. At Johnson & Johnson, recently posted positions for a Senior Director of Business Finance and Senior Director of Operations include this caveat: “The workplace is flexible if approved by the company, except the position is not. cannot be exercised remotely from Colorado. At commercial real estate giant CBRE Group Inc., an ad for a project management director reads in bold: “This position can be performed remotely anywhere in the United States, with the exception of the United States. ‘State of Colorado. “

Good. All of this quite naturally put the supporters of the law in a tithe hell. Note, their concern is not the labor market impact of the salary disclosure provision, but rather the nerve of these out-of-state companies. Plans are already being made to find some sort of legislative hammer that can be wielded on these incalcitrant companies that have been nerve-racking to stick to their policies and simply bypass a state that seeks to criminalize them for that.

This backlash is understandable – no one likes to find out that their political masterstroke actually causes negative side effects – but comes up against a practical difficulty: a legislature in one state cannot legislate for another state. Businesses located outside of Colorado are simply not subject to the new penalty that could be invoked to try to force them to agree to Colorado’s demands.

Now, okay, that’s also an argument against putting these kinds of disclaimers on job postings in the first place. If the businesses are not located on Colorado soil, they are really not subject to Colorado law. The state could boo and yell whatever it wants, but there isn’t much it could do if these companies just go about their business and post jobs without complying with Colorado’s new requirements.

So why bother to include the “except Colorado” disclaimer in the first place? This only illustrates the confusion that reigns when all these new rules and mandates pile up on the business sector every year. If you are a Connecticut or Florida company looking for remote workers for whatever you do, chances are you are much more focused on whatever you do than deciphering the new laws. in every state. So when someone tells you that you have to do something that you are not, for some reason, ready to do in a particular state, your best bet is to simply say and avoid that state altogether, and avoid what could potentially cause you a bigger legal problem. or financial headaches.

And of course, there could be many reasons an employer may choose not to post salary information prior to a job posting, reasons that do not include one that is clearly presumed: they are purely malicious entities simply looking for ways to deceive their employees. . Compensation is, after all, a contract between employer and employee, and subject to a myriad of individual circumstances, none of which is – or should be – the business of government.

How prevalent is this phenomenon of wooing remote workers from everywhere except the Centennial State? It’s hard to say… the Ministry of Labor says there aren’t that many in the big project; on the other hand, it is enough to generate the attention of the media and a website following it. It is difficult to quantify the cost of our quest for perfect fairness. But the fact that this happens in the first place should raise the alarm that there is a schism between the laws passed and the reality they impact. And that this impact is felt most keenly by those who are meant to be helped.

Kelly Sloan is a Denver-based political and public affairs consultant and recovering journalist.

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Julio V. Miller

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