Colorado's new employment labor law is - seemingly inadvertently - causing companies to exclude Coloradans from possible employment. Earlier this year Colorado passed a law that says any company advertising a job in their state must disclose salary ranges. Colorado’s new Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, among other things, requires pay information to be disclosed in job postings and prohibits employers from preventing employees from discussing their pay with other employees and from inquiring about an applicant’s salary history. This would seem to most people a win for potential employees in CO. But never underestimate the power of companies to avoid full disclosure.
Companies such as Nike, Johnson & Johnson, and Google have been posting remote positions that specifically exclude potential employees in Colorado. Why, one might ask, considering that the state is home to a strong talent pool that all three companies would traditionally target? Disclosure.
These companies would rather cut themselves off from a percent of the possible labor pool versus publish salary ranges on their roles.
On the one hand, it’s somewhat understandable that this mentality would creep in. There’s an old rule of thumb that if you show a candidate a range, they will fixate on the top dollar amount even if they are not qualified. The data to support this has never been shown. What’s more likely however, is a problem of mentality. We are in a “for want of a nail the country was lost” situation. Companies have been penny-wise/ pound-foolish when it comes to their recruiting teams for decades. Hardly any CEO who declares “talent is our greatest asset” actually gets it. So, when it comes to making generational shifts - and investments - in attracting talent, these CEOs fall silent. Over and over.
And that’s a big problem when it comes to applicant tracking systems. The big ones - the ones that are basically add-ons, afterthoughts, “so more harm than good” systems that HRIS pressures Recruiting to use? They’re horrible at multi-state job-listings. Does anyone think they’d be able to handle a simple command like “for all jobs tagged with location “Colorado”, show salary ranges”?
One company even stated in the posting “but not in CO due to local CO job posting requirements”. Translation: “our system can’t include salary ranges when required, so goodbye Colorado!”
DigitalOcean came under fire for adding "*This position may be done in NYC or Remote (but not in CO due to local CO job posting requirements)" to their job descriptions. They have since gone with this route - first, come to the job. Then, a fork in the road:
Which, if chosen, gives you this little Easter Egg:
It's hard to decide which option is better - don't list the jobs in Colorado, or pretend that you don't know what the salary is... unless someone is wily enough to, say, click a link.
According to the website for the law firm of Gibson Dunn a lawsuit was filed by the Rocky Mountain Association of Recruiters (RMAR) challenging the constitutionality of the law. stating that the posting requirements are “burdensome to interstate commerce”.
At the time this article was written, close to 70 complaints against employers have been filed.
Admittedly, there are some problems with the law that do make sense such as the provision that says an employer must announce to all current employees that an opportunity for promotion is or will be available. At first glance this seems fair but also at the same time lets an underperforming employee that might be replaced know what may be coming. The law is being ironed - but it's here.
And Colorado isn't just some outlier: multiple states are considering, or have passed, legislation around salary disclosure. Currently, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Virginia all have pay transparency laws. These laws generally prohibit an employer from restricting employees from discussing or disclosing wages and from discriminating against those who do so.
This is just the beginning of a new tide. TA and HR leaders should start getting their executives ready to open up about pay.
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