All workers in the United States have a right to a safe and healthful workplace and the full payment of wages.

Each year during Labor Rights Week, held the week before Labor Day, the U.S. Department of Labor and other federal agencies to promote fundamental labor rights. All workers in the United States, regardless of where they're from, have the same right to a safe and healthful workplace and the full payment of wages. This annual observance helps ensure dignity, equity and justice for all workers.

Learn more about workplace rights on the Department of Labor’s website or call 1-866-4-USA-DOL with any questions. Assistance is available in Spanish and other languages.

Wage Theft

Everyone should be paid fairly and in a timely manner for their labor. Unfortunately, sometimes employers illegally withhold pay. This is a crime known as wage theft, and it affects workers across a wide variety of industries.

In May 2022, the Colorado Fiscal Institute produced a report about wage theft in Colorado. This report outlines which Colorado workers are most likely to experience wage theft, which industries are most likely to be affected, and which types of wage theft are most common. Key findings from the report include:

  • The report estimates nearly $728 million in wage theft annually in Colorado.

  • Nearly 440,000 low-wage workers experience wage theft every year.

  • Wage theft results in over $45 million annually in lost tax revenue for the state.

  • White workers are slightly less likely to experience wage theft than workers of color.

  • Latino workers are the demographic group most likely to experience wage theft.

  • Women are much more likely than men to experience wage theft.

Protecting Against Discrimination in Employment

The Human Rights Ordinance exists to protect against discrimination in Boulder and assist people who have been discriminated against in three areas, including:

  • Housing

  • Employment

  • Public accommodation in places such as stores, restaurants, health clubs and movie theaters

Within these areas, the ordinance prohibits discrimination based on ancestry, color, creed, gender variance, genetic characteristics, immigration status, marital status, mental disability, national origin, physical disability, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation and source of income. In housing, it also prohibits discrimination based on custody of a minor child, parenthood and pregnancy. In employment, it also prohibits discrimination based on age, specifically 40 and older.

City Council enacted the Human Rights Ordinance in 1972 to create prompt, local protection and for classes not protected at the state or federal levels, such as sexual orientation, gender variance and genetic characteristics.

If you or someone you know has been the target of discrimination within city limits, you can file a claim through the City of Boulder’s Human Rights Ordinance. These services are available in any language. Learn more on the city’s website.

Additional Resources

Earlier this year, the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office hosted ‘What You Need to Know About Wage Theft’ presentations in both English and Spanish to education the community. Recordings of these presentations are available online.