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HRP ALERT: Colorado Wage Protection Act of 2014 Now in Effect

All employers operating in the state of Colorado must be familiar with the Wage Protection Act of 2014. This act, signed into law on May 29th, 2014, amends and greatly expands Colorado's existing Wage Payment Act, which covers paydays, deductions from pay and payments of wages on separation from employment for almost all private employees in the state, with no exemption for a minimum number of employees.

As of January 1st, terminated employees or the Division of Labor now have two full years to file a written demand for unpaid wages and compensation, which adds 22 additional months to the previous 60-day deadline for an employee to file a complaint with either the division or a court, and penalties will accrue from the date of the violation. The amended act also empowers the division to adjudicate claims and impose fines and penalties of $7,500 or less for wages earned since January 1st. The division can now fine employers for failing to respond to a division notice, and failure or refusal to testify at a hearing or produce records in response to a division subpoena will be a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine, a short jail sentence, or both. The division is also now empowered to grant fees to attorneys representing employees.

Employers in the state are now required to maintain records of every employee's pay statements for at least three years after payment of wages, and these records must be available upon request of the division. Additionally, employers must now mail final wages to an employee's last known address if they have not received them within 60 days.

Generational Challenges in the Workplace

If you perceive tensions developing in your workplace between younger managers and older workers, you're not alone. According to a special report by the Journal of Intergenerational Relationships recently profiled by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), a generational gap in workplaces across the country is leading to increased friction and conflicts between multiple generations of American managers and workers over communication and leadership styles.

Researchers at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio surveyed two groups of workers - managers under the age of 36 and subordinates who were two decades their seniors. The researchers found that these groups were forming due to many older workers disregarding retirement and younger skilled workers being more quickly promoted to positions of authority, leading to a relatively new workplace dynamic. The researchers discovered that many older workers were upset with the management style of their younger colleagues, and that many of the younger managers were unaware of these issues. One prominent factor cited was a difference in how relationships between managers and employees were developed and maintained - older workers desire deeper, more personal workplace relationships that emphasize their individuality and encourage long conversations and face-to-face contact, while younger managers are comfortable with more casual, impersonal relationships that revolve around email and other forms of electronic communication.

Other experts cited by SHRM were quick to note that other factors, including the personalities and experience of workers separated by age, can also play a significant factor in workplace conflicts. Older workers may value "quality over quantity" and resent being frequently assigned new projects or responsibilities or being held to a high standard of productivity, while younger managers may be intimidated by the prospect of reprimanding or disciplining workers as old as their parents or even grandparents.

In order to resolve this "disconnect", the researchers cited the need for "a new stream of leadership and team research focusing on the evolution of leadership, specifically as younger leaders supervising much older direct reports becomes the norm in our work environment."

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