people holding signs that say survey

Survey Required for 2021 Liability Coverage

For members with P&L coverage that employ one or more employees, please complete the Equal Pay survey to be eligible for Liability coverage in 2021. This does not apply to members with only Workers’ Compensation coverage.

Equal Pay Legislation Takes Effect

In our last newsletter, we published a notice about Colorado’s new Equal Pay legislation and how it will impact Pool members. To recap, SB 19-085, which will take effect in January of 2021, prohibits:

  • Discriminating between employees on the basis of sex by paying an employee of one sex less than an employee of another sex (already illegal at the federal level)
  • Asking for a prospective employee’s wage history
  • Retaliating against employees who refuse to provide wage history or seek to compare their wages to those of other employees
  • Prohibiting employees from discussing or disclosing their wages (already illegal at the federal level)

Districts may also be fined for not announcing opportunities for advancement. If an employee sues the district and wins, the district will have to retroactively compensate the employee for up to three years of wage discrepancy. For a more detailed overview and a discussion of possible litigation, see our January article.

Survey Results

In April, we distributed a survey to members with Liability coverage to gauge knowledge of (and compliance with) SB 19-085. There were relatively few responses, which may be due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

While the majority of respondents provided positive answers to most questions about the steps they have taken to comply with the Equal Pay Act, initial results indicated a few areas of concern. For instance, close to 63% of respondents had not completed a recent pay audit or salary review for their staff, and nearly 49% do not provide regular anti-harassment training.

Meanwhile, about 38% do not review or update their employment manual regularly, and almost 28% still solicit a job applicant’s current salary.

While these results are cause for concern about the preparedness of members to comply with the Equal Pay Act, the sample size – the actual number of districts that have completed the survey – is too small to consider representative of the Pool as a whole.

Coverage

It’s important to note that while districts that fail to comply with SB 19-085 are liable for claims for economic damages or other costs, the Pool’s Liability coverage is more limited. It covers only the economic and liquidated damage back pay; it does not apply to all areas that a plaintiff may be entitled to, such as attorney fees or fines.

In an effort to better gauge your needs and provide appropriate coverage, we have decided to make the survey we referenced above mandatory for all districts that have employees and are applying for Liability coverage in 2021. Liability coverage will be fully contingent on completion, and districts that do not complete the survey will be issued an exclusion until the survey is completed.

You may complete the survey on behalf of your district today by clicking here.

Please note, we provide the HR services to help ensure compliance at no cost. Services offered include training, forms or job posting templates, free contact with HR-focused legal experts, and 10 hours of free HR consulting.