A host of new laws affecting the Connecticut workplace will go into effect as of October 1, 2021. While not particularly complex in content, they represent some meaningful changes in the law.
Connecticut Public Act 21-30 (“An Act Concerning the Disclosure of Salary Range for a Vacant Position”), has essentially two components altering current law. As discussed below, the first requires salary range disclosure in certain circumstances and the second prohibits discrimination in compensation on the basis of sex for “comparable” work.
The Act requires employers to disclose the wage range of a position to job applicants and employees. The “wage range” is defined as the “range of wages an employer anticipates relying on when setting wages for a position, and may include reference to any applicable pay scale, previously determined range of wages for the position, actual range of wages for those employees currently holding comparable positions or the employer’s budgeted amount for the position.”
Job applicants must be provided the wage range on the earlier of (1) the applicant’s request, or (2) prior to or at the time the applicant is made an offer of employment. Employees must be provided a wage range upon (1) hiring, (2) a change in the employee’s position with the employer, or (3) the employee’s first request for a wage range.
The Act also revises the state’s gender-based equal pay law (prohibiting discrimination in pay based on sex) by requiring equal pay for “comparable” work (as opposed to “equal” work) when viewed as a composite of skill, effort and responsibility. The current law requires equal pay for “equal” work. This change represents a clear broadening of protection under the statute as a complaining employee is no longer limited to comparing her wages to male employees doing the same job.
If an employee can show that another employee of the opposite sex is being paid more for “comparable” work, the employer must be able to demonstrate that such differential in pay is based on (1) a seniority system; (2) a merit system; (3) a system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production; or (4) a differential system based upon a bona fide factor other than sex, including, but not limited to, education, training, credentials, skill, geographic location or experience. The bona fide factor must not be sex-based, and must be job-related and consistent with business necessity.
An employer who violates the Act could be found liable for compensatory damages, attorneys’ fees and costs, punitive damages and equitable relief.
Act Deterring Age Discrimination in Employment Applications
On June 24, 2021, Governor Lamont signed into law Public Act 21-69 which applies to all employers with three or more employees. This law amends Connecticut’s Fair Employment Practices Act by making it a discriminatory practice for an employer to request or require a job applicant to provide on an “initial employment application” information as to age, date of birth or dates of attendance at or graduation from an educational institution. The only exception to this prohibition is that such information may be requested based on a bona fide occupational qualification or need, or when such information is needed to comply with state or federal law.
The fact that the new prohibition is limited to initial employment applications suggests that employers may ask for such information later on in the hiring process. Nonetheless, employers would be wise to review their employment application documents to ensure that there are no questions implicating age, date of birth or dates of attendance at or graduation from an educational institution.
If you have questions or wish to discuss how these new changes in the law may affect your business, please contact Scott Centrella in our Employment Practices Group at firstname.lastname@example.org.