The Connecticut legislature passed a slew of new laws in 2021, many of which affect employers in the state. Organizations will likely need to review and revise their employment applications, hiring processes and written company policies as a result. \
New Requirements Regarding Employment Applications
The law: Public Act 21-69 – An Act Deterring Age Discrimination in Employment Applications
Employers (or an employer’s agent) may no longer request or require a job applicant to provide their age, date of birth, or dates of attendance/date of graduation from an educational institution on an “initial employment application” unless it is based on a bona fide occupational qualification or need, or required by state or federal law. As written, the law suggests an employer may inquire about this information later on in the hiring process, but organizations should remove these questions from their employment application forms.
New Obligations to Disclose Wage Ranges to Job Applicants
The law: Public Act 21-30 – An Act Concerning the Disclosure of Salary Ranges
This new law prohibits employers from failing or refusing to provide a job applicant with the “wage range” of the position for which the applicant is applying. Employers must provide wage range information to an applicant upon the earliest of: a) the applicant’s request, or b) prior to or at the time the applicant is made an offer of compensation.
The law also requires an employer to provide an employee with the wage range of the employee’s position upon: a) the hiring of the employee; b) a change in the employee’s position; or c) the employee’s first request for a wage range.
“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;
· Any previously determined range of wages for the position;
· Actual range of wages for current employees holding comparable positions; or
· The amount budgeted by the employer for the position.
On September 28th, the Connecticut Department of Labor issued non-binding guidance regarding the law, which is available here: https://link.edgepilot.com/s/fba00707/bGBF64vu50_vmmldgclniQ?u=https://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/wgwkstnd/QandArePA21-30.pdf
Smoke Breaks Outside are set to Move Back a Bit
The law: Public Act 21-1 – The Clean Air Act and An Act Concerning Responsible and Equitable Regulation of Adult-Use Cannabis
Prior to this act, employers with five or more employees could designate a smoking room for smoking tobacco. Employers are now required to ban smoking and e-cigarette use (tobacco or marijuana) in any area of the workplace.
The new law also requires employers to ban smoking within twenty-five (25) feet of a doorway, operable window or air intake vent. Employers do have the option to ban smoking entirely on company property, however.
Expansions to the Breastfeeding Law
The law: Public Act 21-27 – An Act Concerning Breastfeeding in the Workplace
Connecticut law (C.G.S. § 31-40w) currently requires an employer to provide a lactation room or other private location in the workplace for a mother to express milk. Absent undue hardship on the employer, the new rule expands the law and states the area must:
· Be free from intrusion and shielded from the public;
· Include or be near a refrigerator or an employee-provided portable cold storage device; and
· Have access to an electrical outlet.
Small Change to the Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Requirement
The legislature made a small change to the state’s sexual harassment training requirement. Effective October 1st, employers will not be required to provide training to an employee who, within two years of being hired, received sexual harassment prevention training while working for another employer. However, the exemption only applies if the employee received in-person or online training provided by the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CCHRO); otherwise, the employer needs to provide new training for the employee.