Not paying workers what they are owed is a crime, like any other theft, but it often goes unreported. Realizing that, Assistant District Attorney Matt Maillaro is pleased to announce a new wage theft initiative to educate workers about their rights and prosecute offenders.
“We must protect our community’s workers with the same determination as those intent on cheating them out of their hard-earned wages,” Maillaro said. “Recent changes to Colorado wage theft laws give us better tools to use against unscrupulous employers, including ‘labor brokers’ who might be emboldened in the current unstable work environment.”
The legislature passed and the governor signed HB 19-1267. The law recognizes that a person’s labor is a thing of value that can be subject to theft and imposes the same penalties as section 18-4-401 of the Colorado Revised Statutes. Offenses involving $2,000 or more in stolen wages is a felony; lesser amounts above $50 is a misdemeanor.
The office’s 3-pronged initiative will operate through the Consumer Fraud Protection program under the Economic Crime Unit.
1. Education on the law, with connection to resources.
2. Prevention through Wage Theft Alerts whenever we learn of trends indicating unethical or illegal practices.
3. Investigation and enforcement via a new referral process, explained in detail on our web site at https://www.da18.org/community-outreach/consumer-protection/wage-theft/
“We need to proactively ensure that workers in our community are educated and protected,” Maillaro said. “Times of crisis and disaster are always rife with scammers and price-gougers who take advantage of fear and uncertainty, and this time of COVID-19 is no different. I am proud to say that we are doing what we can to help workers collect what they have earned, including prosecuting employers who break the law.”
To sign up for emailed Wage Theft Alerts, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
If you believe you are a victim of wage theft in Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert or Lincoln counties, fill out the complaint form at https://www.da18.org/community-outreach/consumer-protection/wage-theft/ .