Whistleblower Protections During Health Emergencies Pass Committee

Denver, CO– The House Committee on Finance today considered and passed legislation, sponsored by Reps. Tom Sullivan and Leslie Herod, to protect workers from retaliation when they expose safety-related issues. The bill passed by a vote of 7-4.

“The bill we passed today would ensure that workers feel empowered to speak out when their employers are putting health and safety at risk,” said Rep. Herod, D-Denver. “As this pandemic has shown us, this policy will not only benefit workers, it will benefit our communities and the broader public. Public health is a collective effort, and we need everyone to know that they won’t face workplace retaliation for doing the right thing.”

“We’re working to get Colorado back to work and back on track as safely and responsibly as we can,” said Rep. Sullivan, D-Centennial. “That means making sure that all workplaces put health and safety first, and protecting employees who speak out when they see wrongdoing. This bill will hopefully give workers the confidence to make their voices heard without fear of losing their jobs.”

Colorado has few state-level whistleblower protections, relying primarily on the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which take years to process retaliation claims. HB20-1415 protects Colorado workers from retaliation when they raise concerns about the health and safety of their workplace to their employer, fellow coworkers, the public, or  government agencies. It grants workers the right to wear protective equipment to work, and it requires employers to inform employees of their rights to blow the whistle on unsafe conditions. The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment is charged with managing complaints.