June 2022: Colorado Expands Whistleblower Protections for Health and Safety Violations at the Workplace

21 Jun


Update Applicable to:
All employers in the state of Colorado.

What happened?
On May 31, 2022, Governor Polis signed Senate Bill 97 (SB 97) into law, which expands the whistleblower protections to all health and safety concerns regardless of whether there is a declared public health emergency.

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What are the details?
The Public Health Emergency Whistleblower (PHEW) law was initially enacted in 2020 permitting employees to raise workplace health or safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE). Now, the law has been expanded to include any violation of a health or safety rule, regulation, or other significant health or safety threat. Employers or businesses with at least five independent contractors or workers are subject to the expanded PHEW law.

The new law does not obligate employers and businesses to address a worker’s health or safety concern, but they cannot fire or take other adverse action against the worker for raising such a concern as long as the concern was reasonable and in good faith. 

The law also permits workers to voluntarily wear their own personal protective equipment as long as they are still able to perform their job duties safely.

This law went into effect immediately upon signage.

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For more information, please see the links below:

Senate Bill 97 (SB 97)

Article 1

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links provided above and ensure their policies are in compliance with the newly amended law.

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