The national media has taken note of fewer remote job opportunities for Colorado workers due to a 2019 law signed by Gov. Jared Polis that went into effect this year.
Democrats billed the new regulations as promoting equal pay, but in reality it led to no pay for many prospective remote workers, according to the Wall Street Journal.
To prove the point, local software engineer Aaron Batilo launched a web page to document remote work opportunities that are no longer available to Colorado workers.
[Batilo] took a day off work and spent 12 hours building a site, ColoradoExcluded.com, that tracks job listings that explicitly note they are not open to work in Colorado. He spends about five to 10 hours a week updating the site and manually verifying that listings exclude Colorado. As of Thursday, his list included 46 companies.
“To see companies kind of just taking the stance where they’re like, ‘We’ll hire remotely but we don’t want to consider Colorado,’ it kind of bummed me out,” said Mr. Batilo, who said he supported Colorado’s law and greater salary transparency. “The fact that we need some kind of site to track this seems to me like there’s something wrong happening.”
Major companies including Hilton, Nike, Johnson & Johnson, Digital Ocean, and many more are advertising roles that exclude Colorado candidates.
The primary reason companies decline to consider Colorado remote workers is because broadcasting salary information can put firms at a competitive disadvantage.
Further, Colorado’s law severely restricts companies’ ability to negotiate with new hires, and risks opening up firms to a host of lawsuits.
Associate professor at Wharton University and employment expert Matthew Bidwell told Insider that companies may want to avoid publicly posting their salaries because it limits their “ability to negotiate different salaries for different applicants.” […]
“Once the company has disclosed a salary, it will be difficult for them to pay much less than that salary to a successful applicant,” Bidwell said. “Even if that applicant had relatively less experience and would take the job for much less.”
In addition, companies may worry that making pay rates for different jobs public may cause discontent among workers who are paid less within the company, Bidwell said.
In other words, Democrats and Gov. Polis have effectively sent compliance costs soaring for firms who would otherwise consider job-seeking Coloradans.
If you thought Democrats would move quickly to repeal these burdensome regulations, we have some bad news.
State Sen. Julie Gonzales-Gutierrez told the Colorado Sun liberals in the state legislature are threatening to respond with even more regulations.
“It’s pretty disheartening to see this happening,” Gonzales-Gutierrez said. “We’re kind of being blackballed in a way.”
She said she’d like to find a way to change the law to prohibit companies from excluding Colorado workers because of the Equal Pay Act. In addition to her work on the state level, she also plans to discuss the issue with the state’s congressional delegation to see if there’s a federal remedy.
Antagonizing firms with more hostile regulations will inevitably lead to more companies deciding against doing business in Colorado entirely.
With Polis heading into reelection next year, it will be interesting to see whether he admits his new rules were a mistake or doubles down on the left’s push for more ill-conceived regulations.
Colorado Democrats have put their party in a proverbial box on this issue.
If they don’t own up to their mistake quickly and fix it, kicking prospective remote workers to the unemployment line will surely come back to haunt them in 2022.