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Colorado Court Rules Individuals May Sue For Unpaid Breaks

Today, Judge Goldberg (Denver District Court) ruled that Colorado employees may sue their employers in court when the employer fails to provide paid rest breaks as guaranteed under Colorado law. This issue arose in Kanefsky v. The Hertz Corporation, in which Mr. Kanefsky alleges his former employer, The Hertz Corporation, maintained and implemented a policy which denied counter service rental agents at Denver International Airport the ability to take any breaks, let alone paid breaks.

Colorado law expressly instructs employers to give their employees a paid break of 10 minutes, every 4 hours. But Hertz argued that while the law does in fact provide this guarantee, the law does not provide a remedy for an employer’s failure to abide by the law.

If this seems counterintuitive, it is, and Judge Goldberg disagreed with Hertz’s position. Rather, Judge Goldberg adopted the reasoning utilized by several federal district court judges in Colorado (whose opinions are not binding on a state court judge interpreting state law) in order to conclude that Colorado employees do in fact possess a private right of action to seek a remedy when their employers fail to give them paid breaks.

For more information on what Colorado law guarantees employees, read the Colorado Minimum Wage Order.

John Crone