Gov. Jared Polis signed the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act (“Act”) into law on Wednesday, May 22, 2019. The new law, which goes into effect on January 1, 2021, is designed to address pay disparity in the workplace based upon sex. The Act does this in two ways:

First, by creating a private right of action for employees who are underpaid based upon gender. However, the effective date of the Act is delayed so that employers can undertake an audit of their compensation structures and mitigate any discrepancies found prior to when a complaint can be filed under the Act. The Act recognizes differences in pay may exist if based upon a seniority system, a merit system, a system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production; the geographic location where the work is performed; education, training or experience to the extent that they are reasonably related to the work in question; or travel , if the travel is a regular and necessary condition of the work performed.

Second, the Act seeks to eliminate pay disparities based upon sex by requiring employers to, among other things, make reasonable efforts to announce or post job notices internally, include a salary range for the position in such job notices, and to restrict employers from asking salary history of an applicant.

While there is ample time for employers to work to limit their legal liability, employment law attorney Michelle B. Ferguson recommends, “Employers should get a head start on the Act’s requirements and conduct internal audits to identify any existing disparities. They should also update their policies with regard to job postings and interview procedures.” Employers with questions about how to comply with the Act should contact Michelle B. Ferguson at 303.628.3658 or