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849 Metro State University employees to get backpay for minimum wage underpayment

It is the largest number of underpaid employees discovered in a single investigation, according to the Denver Auditor.
Credit: KUSA
MSU Denver

DENVER — The Denver Auditor and Denver Labor offices announced 849 Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU Denver) employees will receive backpay for minimum wage underpayments.

The employees will receive a total of $130,422 in restitution for underpayments dating back to January.

The investigation began after the auditor's office received a complaint from an employee in March.

Investigators said university officials incorrectly believed the employees were exempt from the city wide minimum wage law because they were state employees.

The state minimum wage is $12 an hour, while the minimum wage in Denver is $12.85 an hour.

The city ordinance, which went into effect on Jan. 1, 2020, states that all work performed in the geographic boundaries of the City and County of Denver is covered by its minimum wage requirements.

Many of the employees who were impacted work in admissions, student orientation and student activities offices, according to the auditor's office.

“This is the single largest number of underpaid employees we’ve ever uncovered in a wage investigation,” Auditor O’Brien said. “These 849 employees are also students, and getting them these funds while they may be facing other economic hardships or student loans is a real win.”

Denver Labor worked with the university to help it find a way to pay employees what they were owed, while trying to keep the negative impact on the university minimal.

“Our team’s effort is a nice example of how the government and employers can work together to get money to the people who have earned it," Executive Director of Denver Labor Jeffrey Garcia said. "It’s good news for working people right now.”

Officials said the university has agreed to return the backpay by Oct. 30, and Denver Labor will not pursue any fines or attorney's fees.

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