Monthly Newsletter

EMPLOYMENT AND LABOR NEWS
Mickey Busca, Editor

CT WAGE DISCLOSURE LAW

June, 2021

CT EMPLOYERS NOW REQUIRED TO PROVIDE

WAGE RANGES FOR VACANT POSITIONS

On June 8, 2021, Governor Lamont signed House Bill 6380 (Public Act 21-30) which revised Conn. Gen. Stat. Section 31-40z and which provides certain employee protections concerning the discussion of wages at the workplace for applicants and even employees, effective October 1, 2021.

The new revision defines “wage range” as “the range of wages an employer anticipates relying on when setting wages for a position, and may include references 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.” 

First, a look at the existing and unrevised Section 31-40z and what it prohibits employers from doing.  Employers are prohibited from the following:

  1. Prohibit an employee from disclosing or discussing his or her wages or another employee’s wages that have been disclosed voluntarily;
  2. Prohibit an employee from inquiring about the wages of another employee;
  3. Prohibits an employer from requiring an employee to sign a waiver or other document that denies the employee’s right to disclose or discuss his or her wages or the wages of another employee that have been disclosed voluntarily;
  4. Discharging, disciplining, discriminating against, retaliating against an employee who discloses or discusses the amount of his or her wages of the wages of another employee.

The new revision adds the following employer prohibitions:

  • Failing or refusing “to provide and applicant for employment the wage range for a position for which the applicant is applying”  upon either the applicant’s request or prior to or at the time an offer of compensation is made by the employer.
  • Failing or refusing to provide an employee the wage range for the employee’s position upon the hiring of the employee, a change in the employee’s position or the employee’s first request for a wage range.

Section 31-40z continues to provide civil remedies for such violations, including compensatory damages, attorney’s fees and costs and punitive damages.

In conjunction with such revisions, revisions were made to Conn. Gen. Stat. Section 31-75, Connecticut’s Equal Pay Statute. 

Under current law, an employee alleging pay discrimination must prove that the employer pays employees of one sex a lower wage than employees of the opposite sex for equal work that requires equal skill, effort and responsibility under similar working conditions.

The new revisions substitute “equal” with “comparable.”  Employers may continue to demonstrate that the differential in pay is due to a seniority system, a merit system, a system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production or a differential system based on a “bona fide factor other than sex,” including education, training, credentials, skill, geographic location (new revisions) or experience.

EMPLOYERS MAY MANDATE COVID-19

VACCINATIONS FOR EMPLOYEES PER EEOC

Recent guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) states that employers could require vaccinations for those employees who are returning to the job as long as employers are not “coercive” and meet other legal requirements.

Employers with at least 15 employees must still honor the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and Title VII which allow employees to claim exemptions from a vaccine requirement.  Under the ADA, an employee can claim to have a disability that prevents them from taking a vaccine.  Under Title VII, employees can opt out if they can demonstrate a “sincerely held religious belief, practice or observance.”

The law requires an employer must provide “reasonable accommodations” in such instances.

Last year, the EEOC stated that COVID-10 posed a “direct threat” that “cannot be eliminated or reduced by reasonable accommodation.”  Employees were, therefore, on weak legal ground to seek exemptions.

However, based on various surveys, it appears employers are still hesitant in mandating vaccination and prefer to encourage employees to get vaccinated before returning to work by offering financial incentives such as cash, time off, coupons, etc.

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