A new bill that will potentially affect employers statewide is making its way through the Colorado State Senate. The bill is part of a strong trend in Colorado towards aggressive legislative moves to protect employees.
Under the bill, known as the “Job Application Fairness Act,” employers would be prohibited from inquiring about the age, birthdate, or dates relating to the applicant’s educational history on an initial job application. The bill does not authorize a private cause of action or damages apart from penalties. A person who claims a violation is allowed to file a complaint with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. Employers get one “free” violation, and for subsequent violations would be subject to penalties.
This proposed law is similar to Colorado’s Chance to Compete Act, which is also known as a “Ban the Box” law. That law prohibits stating that those with a criminal history cannot apply, and also prohibits asking about a job applicant’s criminal history on an initial application form.
We will be watching these legal developments closely. Regardless of the fate of this law, employers should review hiring practices to ensure that there are no built-in or explicit age discrimination problems. If you have questions, please reach out to a qualified employment attorney.