Colorado Revised Statutes Title 8 Labor and Industry § 8-4-109 Termination of employment--payments required--civil penalties--payments to surviving spouse or heir

(1)(a)  When an interruption in the employer-employee relationship by volition of the employer occurs, the wages or compensation for labor or service earned, vested, determinable, and unpaid at the time of such discharge is due and payable immediately.  If at such time the employer's accounting unit, responsible for the drawing of payroll checks, is not regularly scheduled to be operational, then the wages due the separated employee shall be made available to the employee no later than six hours after the start of such employer's accounting unit's next regular workday;  except that, if the accounting unit is located off the work site, the employer shall deliver the check for wages due the separated employee no later than twenty-four hours after the start of such employer's accounting unit's next regular workday to one of the following locations selected by the employer:

(I) The work site;

(II) The employer's local office;  or

(III) The employee's last-known mailing address.

(b) When an employee quits or resigns such employee's employment, the wages or compensation shall become due and payable upon the next regular payday.  When a separation of employment occurs, the employer shall make the separated employee's check for wages due available at one of the following locations selected by the employer:

(I) The work site;

(II) The employer's local office;  or

(III) The employee's last-known mailing address.

(c) If an employer has made the employee's wages or compensation available at the work site or at the employer's local office under paragraph (a) or (b) of this subsection (1), and the employee has not received the wages or compensation within sixty days after the wages or compensation were due, the employer shall mail the employee's check for wages or compensation due to the employee's last-known mailing address.

(2) Nothing in subsection (1) of this section shall limit the right of an employer to set off any deductions pursuant to section 8-4-105 owing by the employee to the employer or require the payment at the time employment is severed of compensation not yet fully earned under the compensation agreement between the employee and employer, whether written or oral.

(3)(a) If an employer refuses to pay wages or compensation in accordance with subsection (1) of this section, the employee, his or her designated agent, or the division may send a written demand for the payment.

(a.5) If the employer disputes the amount of wages or compensation claimed by an employee under this article and if, within fourteen days after the written demand is sent, the employer makes a legal tender of the amount that the employer in good faith believes is due, the employer shall not be liable for any penalty unless, in a legal proceeding, including a civil action or an administrative procedure under sections 8-4-111 and 8-4-111.5 , the employee recovers a greater sum than the amount so tendered.

(b) If an employee's earned, vested, and determinable wages or compensation is not paid within fourteen days after the written demand is sent in the manner set forth in paragraph (d) of this subsection (3), the employer shall be liable to the employee for the wages or compensation, and a penalty of the sum of the following amounts of wages or compensation due or, if greater, the employee's average daily earnings for each day, not to exceed ten days, until such payment or other settlement satisfactory to the employee is made:

(I) One hundred twenty-five percent of that amount of such wages or compensation up to and including seven thousand five hundred dollars;  and

(II) Fifty percent of that amount of such wages or compensation that exceed seven thousand five hundred dollars.

(c) If the employee can show that the employer's failure to pay is willful, the penalty required under paragraph (b) of this subsection (3) shall increase by fifty percent.  Evidence that a judgment has, within the previous five years, been entered against the employer for failure to pay wages or compensation is admissible as evidence of willful conduct.

(d)(I) The employer shall send or deliver payment, by check, draft, or voucher in the employee's name, to the employee at the address contained in the written demand;  or make the payment by direct deposit authorized under section 8-4-102(2) if the employee has not revoked the authorization.  The employer may, but is not required to, make the payment by direct deposit to an account specified by the employee in the demand, even if the employee has not previously authorized direct deposit of the employee's compensation, or make the payment by another method requested by the employee in the demand, if applicable.  If the employee has not previously authorized direct deposit of compensation and the demand does not state an address to which the payment should be mailed, the employer shall make the payment as follows:

(A) To the employee's last-known address according to the records of the employer;  or

(B) If applicable and if the employer so elects, as otherwise requested by the employee in the demand.

(II) The employee or his or her designated agent may commence a civil action to recover the penalty set forth in this subsection (3).  For an action filed in a small claims court, established pursuant to part 4 of article 6 of title 13, C.R.S., if the employer has not received a written demand at least fourteen days before the employer is served with the complaint or other document commencing the action, service of the complaint or other document serves as the written demand under this subsection (3).  If an employer makes a legal tender of the full amount claimed in the action within fourteen days after service of the complaint or other document commencing the action, the employee shall dismiss the action.

(4) If, at the time of the death of any employee, an employer is indebted to the employee for wages or compensation, and no personal representative of the employee's estate has been appointed, such employer shall pay the amount earned, vested, and determinable to the deceased employee's surviving spouse.  If there is no surviving spouse, the employer shall pay the amount due to the deceased employee's next legal heir upon the request of such heir.  If a personal representative for the employee has been appointed and is known to the employer prior to payment of the amount due to the spouse or other legal heir, the employer shall pay the amount due to such personal representative upon the request of such representative.  The employer shall require proof of a claimant's relationship to the deceased employee by affidavit and require such claimant to acknowledge the receipt of any payment in writing.  Any payments made by the employer pursuant to the provisions of this section shall operate as a full and complete discharge of the employer's indebtedness to the extent of the payment, and no employer shall thereafter be liable to the deceased employee's estate or to the deceased employee's personal representative.  Any amounts received by a surviving spouse or legal heir shall be considered in diminution of the allowance to the spouse or legal heir pursuant to the “Colorado Probate Code”, articles 10 to 17 of title 15, C.R.S. Nothing in this section shall create a substantive right that does not exist in any agreement between the employer and the employee.


FindLaw Codes are provided courtesy of Thomson Reuters Westlaw, the industry-leading online legal research system. For more detailed codes research information, including annotations and citations, please visit Westlaw.

FindLaw Codes may not reflect the most recent version of the law in your jurisdiction. Please verify the status of the code you are researching with the state legislature or via Westlaw before relying on it for your legal needs.