What is a Wage Complaint?

A wage complaint is a written complaint filled out by an employee, and filed with the Colorado Division of Labor against a current or former employer for unpaid wages that are within the Division's jurisdiction. The wage complaint process is a free service and is available to current and former Colorado private sector employees, regardless of immigration status. Employees may pursue their wage complaint through the Division process, or may elect to go to court instead; the Division process is not required in order to pursue the matter in court. However, if you have already pursued the matter in court, you may not use the Division process.

Can I file a wage complaint with the Division?


The Division may have the authority to assist you concerning the following issues:

  • Non-payment of wages for work performed in Colorado for private employers
  • Unauthorized or illegal deductions from wages
  • Non-payment of overtime in certain industries
  • Non-payment of vacation earned in accordance with an employer’s policy
  • Dishonored (bounced) paycheck
  • Minimum wage violations in certain industries
  • Tip or gratuity disputes
  • Ordering payment of owed wages of $7,500 or less, earned on or after January 1, 2015
  • Mediation regarding payment of owed wages earned before January 1, 2015

If you are unsure whether your complaint is within the Division's authority, contact us at (303) 318-8441 or


The Division does not have the authority to assist you concerning the following issues:

  • Independent contractor pay disputes
  • Work performed outside of Colorado
  • Wage complaints already filed in the court system
  • Government or school district employee wage disputes
  • Expense reimbursements
  • Severance pay
  • Sick pay
  • Pay disputes where an employer has filed for bankruptcy
  • Wrongful termination
  • Discrimination
  • Harassment or abusive treatment
  • Employment references; slander or libel
  • Access to personnel or medical records
  • Health or life insurance coverage
  • 401K, pension, or savings accounts
  • Taxes


For wages earned on and after January 1, 2015, the Division can order payment of owed wages up to $7,500. For wages earned before January 1, 2015, the Division can mediate regarding any amount of wages owed, but cannot order payment.

  • Answer all questions on the Wage and Hour Complaint Form accurately, and provide a detailed explanation where necessary. Incomplete forms will delay the processing of the complaint.
  • Mail, fax, or email all supporting documents to the Division. Attach copies of any supporting documentation that may substantiate your complaint, i.e. checks, timecards, pay statements, employment contracts, policies, and handbooks.
  • The supporting documentation you submit should be copies of the original materials. Do NOT send originals.
  • Please include your name and the name of the employer on all of the pages of your supporting documents.
  • It is important that you provide all information in detail and supply supporting documentation with your initial written complaint. Failure to supply relevant information will result in delays.
  • You are required to contact the Division immediately if your address or contact information changes or if the employer makes payment of owed wages.
  • Promptly respond to any communications from the Division.
  • Contact the Division if you have any questions about submitting a complaint.


Explanation of the Division’s Wage Complaint Administrative Procedure

  • Once a Wage Complaint Form is received, a Compliance Officer will review it for completeness and determine if it is within the Division’s authority.
  • The Division may contact you to obtain additional information or clarify submitted information.
  • Once the Compliance Officer has determined Division authority and has all of the necessary documentation, a letter will be sent to the employer explaining the nature of the complaint and the amount alleged to be owed.
  • The employer will be given an opportunity to respond to the complaint and provide documentation.
  • The Division is required to issue a determination within 90 days of sending the letter to the employer, unless we notify you in advance of good cause to extend the investigation.
  • The Division will send you the determination, along with your rights to appeal a determination or to withdraw from the Division’s process.


Status of Complaint

The Division is unable to provide status updates regarding your complaint. We will contact you if further information is necessary and when a determination has been issued.


Written Demand for Payment of Wages

Employees who allege that their employer owes them earned wages may send a written demand for payment of wages. If full payment is not made within 14 calendar days after the written demand is sent, the employer may be ordered to pay penalties to the employee, in addition to owed wages. If a written demand is not sent by the employee, the first letter from the Division to the employer constitutes a written demand. As a courtesy, the Division provides a sample written demand for payment of wages form on the Division’s website at https://www.colorado.gov/cdle/complaint-forms..


Authorized Representative

If you would like someone else to represent you throughout the Division’s administrative process, please fill out and file an Authorized Representative Form with the Division. This form is available on our website at https://www.colorado.gov/cdle/complaint-forms.


Non-English Language Complaints

The Division accepts complaints filed in languages other than English. Spanish speaking Compliance Officers are available to address complaints through the Division’s Administrative Procedure. In addition, the Division has access to interpreter services for other languages.


Retaliation Prohibited

Pursuant to C.R.S. § 8-4-120, employers are forbidden from retaliating or discriminating against an employee for filing a complaint with the Division. Contact an attorney for legal advice concerning your options if an employer retaliates against you.


Additional Questions

If you have additional questions, you may contact the Division via phone at 303-318-8441 or 1-888-390-7936 (toll free). You may also visit our website at www.colorado.gov/cdle/labor or email us at cdle_labor_standards@state.co.us. Our office is located at 633 17th Street, Suite 200, Denver, Colorado 80202-3611.


File the complaint

By clicking on the "I accept" button you are agreeing to the following:

  • I have been notified and understand that any person providing false information to the Division of Labor in order to obtain and/or retain anything of value may be subject to criminal prosecution under the laws of the State of Colorado with possible penalties of imprisonment, fines, or both.
  • I hereby certify that this is a true statement of monies owed, and authorize the Division of Labor to investigate and assist in this matter.
  • I understand that the Division of Labor does not guarantee a resolution to this dispute, and that I may have to pursue the matter further in court, with an attorney, with another agency, or through other methods.
  • I understand that any information supplied to the Division of Labor may be provided to the employer, the agents of the employer involved in the dispute, and other agencies or individuals as the Division deems appropriate.
  • I understand that the Division of Labor cannot legally order the payment of wages and penalties for wages earned before January 1, 2015.
  • I understand that the Division of Labor cannot legally order the payment of wages in excess of $7,500.
  • I declare under penalty of perjury § 18-8-501, et seq., C.R.S. that the information provided is true and correct.

Wage and Hour Complaint Instructions - 2015-2016 [Return to Complaint Page]