Colorado law prohibits employers from suggesting, requesting or requiring that an employee or job applicant disclose any user name, password or other means to access the individual’s personal account through his personal computer, telephone, or similar electronic communications device. Also prohibited is compelling the employee or applicant to add anyone as a contact on his social media account or to change his privacy settings. An employer cannot discharge, discipline, penalize, or refuse to hire an employee or applicant who does not provide access to personal accounts. Employers may, however, investigate an employee to ensure compliance with securities or financial law or to investigate suspected unauthorized downloading of the employer’s proprietary or financial information.

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The Colorado Wage Transparency Act went into effect on August 5, 2008. The Act provides, in part that Colorado employers may not: “discharge, discipline, discriminate against, coerce, intimidate, threaten or interfere with any employee or other person because the employee inquired about, disclosed, compared or otherwise discussed the employee’s wages.” 

The law also prohibits employers from mandating that employees must keep their information about their compensation or salary confidential as a condition of accepting a job offer and prohibits requiring employees to sign waivers of their right to discuss their pay. Federal law also has existing prohibitions against employers from attempting  to limit employees from talking about their wages. Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) gives employees the right to discuss their wages, benefits and other conditions of employment.

Take away: The Wage Transparency Act means that Colorado employers should not have any policy, employment agreement and/or severance agreement that prohibit an employee from discussing his or her pay / compensation structure or that of co-workers’ pay” with others.