Just over a week after significantly increasing the penalties for failure to pay correct wages, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed Senate Bill 85 into law last week making Colorado the latest state to enact an equal pay mandate. The law will become effective on January 1, 2021 at which time employees who believe they were illegally underpaid may file a lawsuit seeking the pay amount they would have received had they not been discriminated against. The law, which applies to everyone in the state who employs at least one person, has a few exceptions that are being spun as business-friendly, one of which discourages additional court awards for damages where the salary disparity is deemed unintentional. Passed largely along party lines (with 2 of the 16 senate republicans joining all 19 democrats in support), the “Equal Pay for Equal Work Act” allows disparities in pay due to seniority and merit, geographic differences, education, training and experience, as well as in light of travel considerations, but it also prohibits employers from asking applicants about their salary history and requires that job openings be announced within the workplace and include the salary range for the position. Finally, the new law provides a limited safe harbor for employers who have conducted a pay audit within two years before and litigation is commenced.