Colorado has adopted final rules that clarify the notice requirements under two new laws related to COVID-19.
In July, Colorado enacted the Public Health Emergency Whistleblowing Act (PHEW), which prohibits employers from taking adverse action against a worker who in good faith raises a reasonable concern to the employer, a government agency, or the public about workplace violations of health and safety rules or a significant workplace threat related to a public health emergency.
In July, the state also enacted the Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (HFWA), which requires employers to provide paid sick leave and public health emergency leave to employees. The leave must be paid at least at the same rate the employee normally earns during working hours.
Employers must post a notice of workers' rights under the PHEW and HFWA. Recently, the state issued emergency regulations implementing the notice requirements. The final rules (summarized below) largely track the emergency rules.
The final rules reiterate that employers may satisfy the HFWA and PHEW's notice requirements with the Colorado Workplace Public Health Rights Poster. The rules also reiterate that the notice requirements have applied since each statute took effect in July. Employers will be deemed compliant if they executed the required posting and/or notice within 30 days of the applicable statutory effective date.
The poster must be displayed in:
- "Each establishment where employees or workers work."
- "A conspicuous location frequented by employees or workers where it may be easily read during the workday — such as in break rooms, on employee bulletin boards, and/or adjacent to time clocks, department entrances, and facility entrances."
Where physical posting is impractical, a poster may be provided directly to employees, including by appropriate electronic means if that's what's customarily used to communicate with employees.
The final rules also reiterate a requirement to provide each employee direct "written notice" of HFWA rights. Employers may satisfy this requirement by simply providing each employee with the Colorado Workplace Public Health Rights Poster. Employers may also include the written HFWA notice with other employment-related documents (such as a handbook, manual, or other written or posted policies), as long as the documents are provided either:
- In hard copies given to each employee; or
- In electronic form, if the employee can easily access the documents electronically and is provided actual notice that the documents contain information regarding their terms of employment, not just a link that fails to so notify the employee about the information contained in the notice.
Posters and notices required by these rules must be in English and any language that is the first language spoken by at least five percent of the employer's or principal's workforce.
Colorado employers should ensure that they comply with the poster and notice requirements of the new laws. The poster/notice is available in several languages here. Please contact your dedicated service professional with any questions.