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Legislative Year: 2022 Change

Bill Detail: SB22-161

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Title Wage Theft Employee Misclassification Enforcement
Status Governor Signed (06/03/2022)
Bill Subjects
  • Labor & Employment
  • State Government
House Sponsors M. Froelich (D)
M. Duran (D)
Senate Sponsors J. Danielson (D)
S. Jaquez Lewis (D)
House Committee Business Affairs and Labor
Senate Committee Business, Labor and Technology
Date Introduced 03/21/2022

The bill updates and modifies laws pertaining to the payment of
wages, employee misclassification, and workplace safety, and the
enforcement procedures and remedies for violations of those laws, as
  • Changes the penalty for failure to provide requested

information to the division of labor standards and statistics
in the department of labor and employment (DLSS) from
a misdemeanor criminal offense to a daily penalty of up to
$50 (section 1 of the bill);
  • Requires an employer to: Provide notice to an employee,
within 10 days after the employment terminates, before
deducting from wages or compensation any amount of
money or property the employee failed to return or repay
upon termination of employment; pay the employee the
deducted amount within 14 days after the employee returns
or repays the money or property if the employee did so
within 14 days after notice is provided; and pay 2 times the
amount of the deduction if the employer fails to provide the
required notice (section 2);
  • Imposes automatic penalties, and adjusts the amount of the
penalties for multiple violations within 5 years, on an
employer that fails to pay past-due wages within 14 days
after a written demand or civil or administrative action for
the past-due wages is sent to or served on the employer
(section 3);
  • Repeals the requirement that an employee dismiss an action
against an employer after the employer makes a legal
tender for the full amount claimed in the action (section 3),
and eliminates the authority of a court to award an
employer reasonable attorney fees and costs in an action in
which the employee claimed wages in excess of the greater
of $7,500 or the jurisdictional limit for small claims court
and the employee does not recover an amount greater than
the amount the employer tendered (section 4);
  • For wage claims on or after January 1, 2023, increases the
threshold for wage claims the director of the DLSS may
adjudicate from $7,500 or less to $15,000 or less (section
  • Allows the director of the DLSS to use existing authority
under labor laws to gather information pertinent to wage
claims from employers, employees, and other persons or
entities (section 5);
  • If the DLSS determines that an employer has violated wage
laws, allows employees who filed the wage claims to
request the DLSS to notify similarly situated employees
that the employer may be engaging in a pattern or practice
of nonpayment of wages (section 5);
  • Allows recovery of attorney fees, an additional fine of 50%
of the amount of past-due wages, and a penalty of the
greater of 50% of past-due wages or $3,000 from an
employer that fails to pay an employee past-due wages
within 60 days after the determination in favor of the
employee (section 5);
  • For a citation, notice of assessment, or order issued against
an employer on or after January 1, 2023, requires the
DLSS, upon request of an employee, to file a certified copy
of the citation, notice, or order with the appropriate clerk of
court, after which the clerk is required to enter the citation,
notice, or order as a judgment of the court, and the
judgment becomes a lien against the employer's property
that is superior to all other liens except property tax liens
(section 6);
  • Authorizes the DLSS to issue a notice of administrative
lien and levy, similar to a child support enforcement lien,
when an employer fails to pay past-due wages, fines, or
penalties, which lien attaches to the employer's real or
personal property that is in the possession, custody, or
control of another person (section 6);
  • Allows an employee who alleges that the employee's
employer discriminated or retaliated against the employee
for filing or participating in a wage claim to file a civil
action to seek relief, including back pay, reinstatement or
front pay, payment of unlawfully withheld wages, interest
on past-due wages, penalties, liquidated damages,
injunctive relief, and attorney fees and costs. The DLSS,
after an investigation of a discrimination or retaliation
claim, may also order similar relief to an employee, other
than attorney fees and costs (section 7);
  • Requires employers to ensure the workplace is constructed,
operated, and equipped, and any machinery and equipment
in the workplace is placed, operated, and lighted, in a
manner that provides reasonable and adequate protections
to the lives, health, and safety of all employees, and
authorizes a new worker and employee unit in the
department of law, in addition to an employee injured or
threatened with injury, to enforce the workplace safety
requirements (section 8);
  • Establishes the worker and employee unit (unit) in the
department of law to investigate and enforce wage theft,
unemployment insurance and misclassification of
employees, and workplace safety claims under specified
circumstances (sections 9 through 12); and
  • Modifies certain provisions of the mechanics' lien law to
streamline its use in the context of workers enforcing wage
claims for work performed on real property (sections 13
through 23).

Committee Reports
with Amendments
Full Text
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Fiscal Notes Fiscal Notes (05/04/2022) (most recent)  
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