DENVER — Wednesday, June 6, 2018 — Gov. John Hickenlooper has signed an executive order creating a joint task force including employer and employee groups to better address payroll and worker misclassification in Colorado's construction industry.

Misclassification of employees as independent contractors and other labor law violations  disadvantage both law-abiding construction contractors and construction workers in Colorado. Some labor brokers within Colorado’s construction industry have been found to have purposefully misclassified workers to avoid paying unemployment premiums and payroll taxes.

“Law-abiding companies and workers are being undercut by those who skirt the law in Colorado,” said Governor John Hickenlooper. “This task force will bring all parties together to find the right solutions to root out any illegal labor activity in our state.”

“Payroll fraud in the construction industry hurts workers and honest businesses,” said Randy Thornhill, Executive Secretary-Treasurer, Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters. “The first step in tackling this issue is evaluating current enforcement practices. With this executive order, the governor’s commitment to building a better economy is clear. His leadership on these issues will lead to a cleaner industry and safer workplaces.”

The Joint Enforcement Task Force on Payroll Fraud and Employee Misclassification in the Construction Industry will coordinate with relevant state agencies to share information and streamline investigations around alleged misclassification of workers. The task force also will coordinate with business, labor and community groups.

“We are going to hit the ground running to convene key stakeholders in order to ensure across the board compliance with Colorado’s labor and employment laws, particularly in the commercial construction industry,” said Sam Walker, executive director of the Colorado Department of Employment and Labor. “Consistent and effective enforcement of our laws and regulations is a win-win for law-abiding companies and their workers. By collaborating with the other state agencies on this task force, as well as with workers and contractors within the industry, I know we’ll be able to identify areas for improvement so that our State’s labor and employment protections work as they should throughout Colorado’s booming construction sector.”

The task force includes leadership from several state agencies and the Governor including:

the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, the Colorado Department of Revenue, the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies and Colorado Department of Personnel and Administration. Labor and industry representatives include the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters and Associated General Contractors of Colorado (AGC).

“While AGC believes that most Colorado contractors already classify their employees properly, we want to be strong partners with the Department of Labor, the Carpenters, and other stakeholders to study the system and improve the process where it's needed,” said AGC Colorado President & CEO Michael Gifford.

In addition to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment’s (CDLE) existing commitment to enforcement and compliance with applicable employment/labor laws throughout all sectors of the economy, Gov. Hickenlooper and CDLE Executive Director Walker determined that the unique nature of the commercial construction industry provides a good opportunity for improved compliance assurance and assistance.

View the entire executive order here.