Opinion | Susan Knopf: Fight fire with fire | SummitDaily.com

Opinion | Susan Knopf: Fight fire with fire

I bet you’d love to have a great job with great benefits working remotely in Summit County.

Our state government thought it would be a great idea if you had a level playing field when you apply for that job. The Colorado Legislature passed the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, which requires employers to disclose the salary range for a job. The law is intended to diminish discrimination.

Turns out some employers think the law is a good reason to discriminate against all Coloradans. Instead of saying, “Hey, that’s a good idea!” They’re saying this job is open to everyone in the U.S. except Coloradans.

This was the focus of a 9News investigation.

What do you think? Is this a good reason to boycott companies who discriminate against us? Have you ever applied for a job that didn’t include a salary range?

For the record, the Equal Pay Act Part 2 took effect Jan. 1, 2021. According to the state’s website, the act “requires employers to include compensation in job postings, notify employees of promotion opportunities, and keep job description and wage rate records. The Division (of Labor Standards and Statistics) investigates complaints against employers concerning transparency in pay and employment opportunities.”

I can imagine a lot of reasons employers wouldn’t like that. But frankly, if you treat your employees like dirt, you better expect someone to complain to somebody. The word gets out and recruiting gets difficult. Local employers who complain that it is difficult to recruit good people, you might want to take note. Try an anonymous employee survey and find out what your employees really think. Then think about changing what you pay and how you treat your employees.

So who are these nasty people who don’t want to disclose wage ranges or tell their employees about promotion opportunities and are afraid some disgruntled employee might complain to the Colorado Department of Labor? You might be surprised. It’s a long list, and Aaron Batilo has made it his mission to make it public.

He created a new website called Colorado Excluded. It lists more than 30 companies excluding Coloradans from job postings. Batilo says on his website, “Job listings are currently user submitted with a manual review process to verify that a job listing is excluding Colorado. Anyone can submit listings. … Our team will frequently review the submitted listings to see if they should be listed on the rest of the website.”

Batilo says he works for coffee. He wrote on the site, “Every little bit is appreciated.”

You want to know some companies we do business with in Summit County that might not actually want our business? Airbnb, Cigna, Eventbrite, Hilton, Johnson & Johnson, Nike, Oracle, Sherwin Williams and University of Phoenix.

Colorado tried to make this simple for employers by providing a fact sheet. So when you hear lame excuses that they weren’t sure how this would play out, they’re just covering their asses. You know what they don’t like? A level playing field.

Or maybe it’s the consequences for bad behavior that scare them. Apparently, the fine for violating the new Colorado law can be as little as $500 or as much as $10,000. Of course dealing with employees with integrity pretty much obviates any chance of being fined.

Instead of seeing this new law, designed to protect Coloradans, as an opportunity to do the right thing everywhere, these companies seem to be trying to wag their fingers at us and say, ’No, you can’t drag us to fair labor practices.’ Maybe it’s time to show them who is boss. Your power is your wallet, your buying power.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t buy that new pair of running shoes, but maybe this month you’d like to try another brand of kicks. Maybe next vacation book with VRBO instead of Airbnb. I’m a Hilton Honors member, so maybe I’ll write a letter to Hilton to let them know I’m not happy.

Is there a more core equity issue than equal pay for equal work? What’s the use of talking the talk if you don’t walk the walk?

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