Johnson & Johnson among companies excluding Colorado residents from remote job openings after new state law

Lake and mountains in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Colorado established a new law this year requiring companies to divulge a salary range on job postings. But some large companies, like Johnson & Johnson, McKesson and Cardinal Health, have responded by barring candidates from the state.(SeanXu/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

A senior manager in operations at Johnson & Johnson. A sales specialist at McKesson. A manager for international tax planning at Cardinal Health. 

What do these recent postings for remote jobs have in common?

All specify that those who live in Colorado need not apply.

The issue, it seems, is Colorado’s Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, which requires companies to disclose the pay range for job openings. The goal of the new law, which went into effect on Jan. 1, is to narrow gender wage disparities by in part forcing salary transparency. Instead, companies that prefer not to disclose pay are barring remote workers from the state.

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The second paragraph of Johnson & Johnson’s posting, for example, reads: “Work location is flexible if approved by the company except that position may not be performed remotely from Colorado.” 

Cardinal’s notice is buried at the end of its posting. “This role is to be filled outside the state of Colorado,” it reads, just before the company explains that it is “an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer.”  

Cardinal declined comment. Attempts by email to reach J&J and McKesson were unsuccessful.

On a makeshift website, ColoradoExcluded.com, Aaron Batilo, a software engineer from Commerce City, has compiled a list of companies that exclude Colorado residents on job postings. Among the companies listed are Twitter, Hilton, Insperity, Cigna, GoDaddy and Nike, which said on several job notices that “Colorado candidates will be required to relocate.”

“It looks to me like these companies are intentionally excluding potential employees right here in the state where we still need these jobs because they don’t want to have to post their salary information,” Colorado state Sen. Jessie Danielson (D), who sponsored the new legislation, told KUSA-TV in Denver. 

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But according to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, companies from outside the state that exclude Colorado residents are not breaking the law.

“They’re beyond the jurisdiction of Colorado statutes,” Scott Moss, the statistics director for CDLE, told KUSA. 

Moss told The Wall Street Journal that companies that don’t have any employees in Colorado are not subject to the requirement to divulge a pay range when posting a job. But if an employer has any presence in the state, it is required to disclose salary information, even for a remote job.