Three Employment Law Bills Await Governor’s Signature

The Colorado Legislature is scheduled to adjourn on Wednesday, May 11. Three employment-related bills have passed out of both houses and await Gov. Hickenlooper’s signature.

The first is House Bill 16-1432, which would allow private-sector employees to inspect their personnel files. According to the bill, it is intended to foster an environment of open communication between employers and employees and deter frivolous lawsuits. The Colorado Open Records Act covers public employees, so this bill excludes them. Employees can review their files at least annually, and former employees get one opportunity for review. The review can be restricted to the presence of an employer representative in charge of files. The definition of “personnel file” is specified and excludes confidential investigations or other materials kept in separate files. It also excludes financial institutions. If signed by Gov. Hickenlooper, this law will take effect on January 1, 2017, barring a filing of a referendum.

The second is House Bill 16-1114, which repeals the state requirement of an I-9 verification affirmation, a process the bill declares “unnecessary and redundant due to existing federal I-9 requirements.” It does not require use of E-verify or change any federal I-9 requirements. If signed by Gov. Hickenlooper, it will take effect on August 10, 2016, barring filing of a referendum.

Should these bills become law, it would be worthwhile to review your personnel files and audit the documents they contain. Some documents should always be kept in separate files. Contact your MSEC representative for assistance.

The third bill, House Bill 16-1438, passed out of both houses today, May 9, and makes it an “unfair employment practice if an employer fails to provide reasonable accommodations for an applicant for employment or an employee for conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.” A Notice of Rights will be a new requirement. The bill provides that an accommodation not requested by the employee cannot be made mandatory if unnecessary to perform essential job functions. It defines “reasonable accommodations” and provides for undue hardship on the employer. It also states that courts are not allowed to award punitive damages in civil actions where good faith was demonstrated. If signed by Gov. Hickenlooper, it will become effective August 10, 2016, barring a referendum.