Category Archives: Connecticut

REMINDER: Connecticut Employers Must Provide Rebuttal Opportunity For Employee Discipline

There is one aspect of Connecticut employment law that some Connecticut employers overlook …

Connecticut General Statute §31-128e(b) requires employers include in any

  • documented disciplinary action,
  • notice of termination of employment or
  • performance evaluation

a “statement in clear and conspicuous language” that informs the employee that he has the right to “submit a written statement explaining his position” should the employee disagree with any of the information contained therein.

This “rebuttal statement” must be kept in the employee’s personnel file and accompany the document that it is rebutting should that document be disclosed to any third party.  In other words, the rebuttal statement essentially becomes a part of the the write-up, evaluation or notice of termination.

It is recommended that all Connecticut employers review the forms used for employee discipline, performance evaluation, and termination and verify that the required language is present.  If it isn’t, be sure to add the required language.

NEW LAW: Connecticut Employers, Remember That The New Pay Equity Law Prohibits Salary History Inquiries

On January 1, 2019, Connecticut’s new pay equity law went into effect.  Under this new law, Connecticut employers are prohibited from inquiring into a prospective employee’s salary/wage history.  This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Including inquiries about salary history on an employment application;
  • Directly asking a candidate for employment about his/her salary history during the interview process;
  • Directly asking a candidate’s former employer about the candidate’s salary history; and
  • Using a third party to inquire into an applicant’s salary history.

Employers are still able to inquire about components of an applicant’s former compensation structure (e.g. retirement benefits, stock option plans), but the employer cannot ask about the value of the individual components. Continue reading NEW LAW: Connecticut Employers, Remember That The New Pay Equity Law Prohibits Salary History Inquiries

Connecticut Becomes Sixth State to Pass Salary History Ban

On May 22, 2018, Connecticut enacted its own version of the salary history ban, making it the most recent example of this recent legal trend.  Similar laws were previously adopted in California, Delaware, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Vermont.  Connecticut’s ban will take effect on January 1, 2019.

Current Law

Existing Connecticut law protects employees but not applicants in relation to their wages.  Currently, employers are prohibited from:

  • Prohibiting an employee from inquiring about the wages of another employee.
  • Prohibiting employees from voluntarily discussing their wages with other employees.
  • Requiring employees to sign a waiver that denies them the right to voluntarily disclose the amount of their wages or the wages of another employee.
  • Requiring employees to sign a waiver (or other document) that denies them their right to inquire about the wages of another employee.
  • Discharging, disciplining, discriminating, retaliating or otherwise penalizing employees who disclose the amount of their wages to another employee.
  • Discharging, disciplining, discriminating, retaliating or otherwise penalizing employees who inquire about the wages of another employee (neither the employee nor the employer is required to disclose the amount of wages paid to any employee).

Salary History Ban Continue reading Connecticut Becomes Sixth State to Pass Salary History Ban

New Laws Effective in 2018

Aside from the minimum wage increases, there are a number of new laws going into effect in the new year.

While many of these have been addressed in detail in previous articles, the following is a summary of the new laws/regulations that may be going into effect in your state …

State New Law
California AB 46 – Amends the California Equal Pay Act to define “employer” to include public and private employers.

Effective January 1, 2018

AB 168 – Adds §432.3 to the California Labor Code, which prohibits employers from inquiring into and relying on an applicant’s salary history during the hiring process.

Effective January 1, 2018

AB 260 & SB 225 – Makes two changes the Human Trafficking required notice: (1) additional businesses (including hotels, motels, and bed and breakfast inns) are required to post the notice and (2) the notice must include a text number to access support and services.

Effective January 1, 2018

AB 450 – Employers are prohibited from providing ICE agents with access to their worksite and/or records without a warrant.

Effective January 1, 2018

AB 1008 – Amends the California Fair Employment and Housing Act to include a “ban-the-box” provision, which prohibits employers from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history before the employer has made a conditional offer of employment.

Effective January 1, 2018

AB 1701 – Adds §218.7 to the California Labor Code, which requires direct contractors to assume liability for unpaid wages, benefits, and/or contributions owed by its subcontractors.

Effective January 1, 2018

AB 1710 – Expands protections to members of the military and veterans by prohibiting employers from discriminating against these individuals in the terms and conditions of employment.

Effective January 1, 2018

SB 63 (New Parent Leave Act) – Requires employers who employs 20+ employees within 75 miles of a worksite provide eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid parental leave to bond with a new child within one year of the child’s birth, adoption, or foster care placement.  Employers are not required to provide this leave to employees who are eligible for CFRA and FMLA.

Effective January 1, 2018

SB 258 (Cleaning Product Right to Know Act of 2017) – Requires employers who are required to make a safety data sheet readily accessible to its employees also provide employees with information regarding exposure to potentially harmful chemicals in designated cleaning products.

Effective January 1, 2018

SB306 – Authorizes the DLSE to commence an investigation of an employer, with or without a complaint being filed, when retaliation or discrimination is suspected during the course of a wage claim or other specified investigation being conducted by the Labor Commissioner.

Effective January 1, 2018

SB396 – Amends the California Fair Employment and Housing Act to require employers with 5+ employees post a notice in the workplace regarding transgender rights.  Also requires employers with 50+ employees to include harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation in their anti-harassment training programs.

Effective January 1, 2018

Connecticut HB 7037 – Requires employers to provide information regarding child support garnishments to their workers’ compensation carrier when making an initial report of occupational illness or injury to the carrier.

Effective January 1, 2018

Delaware HS 1 — Prohibits employers from inquiring into and relying on an applicant’s salary history during the hiring process.

Effective December 14, 2017

Hawaii SB 1007 – Changes the reporting frequency of withheld income tax from monthly reporting to quarterly reporting for all employers.

Effective January 1, 2018

Illinois SB 318 – Prohibits employers from (1) using (or requiring an applicant/employee provide) genetic information in employment decisions (2) discriminating against an employee because of genetic information or testing, or (3) retaliating against an employee who refuses to disclose genetic information.

Effective January 1, 2018

SB 1895 – Prohibits employers from disciplining or terminating an employee who also serves as a volunteer emergency medical services personnel or as a volunteer firefighter by his or her employer for responding to an emergency call or emergency text message during work hours that requests the employee’s volunteer emergency medical services or volunteer firefighter services.

Effective January 1, 2018

Maine LD 1477 – Requires the Department of Labor and the Maine Human Rights Commission develop and make available a training guide setting forth the sexual harassment training requirements for employers’ use and increases the penalties imposed on employers for violating the notice and sexual harassment training requirements.

Effective November 1, 2017

LD 88 – Delayed the effective date of certain portions of the Maine Marijuana Legalization Act until 2/1/2018.

Effective February 1, 2018

Massachusetts HB 3680 (Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act) – Prohibits workplace and hiring discrimination related to pregnancy and nursing, and requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for expectant and new mothers in the workplace.

Effective April 1, 2018

SB 2119 – Amends the Massachusetts Equal Pay Act by (1) requiring employers to provide “equal pay” for “comparable” work, (2) prohibiting inquiries into an applicant’s salary history.

Effective July 1, 2018

Nevada AB 76 – Amends the existing law to remove the requirement that the Central Repository provide certain criminal history information to employers and repeals certain immunities previously provided to employers.

Effective January 1, 2018

SB 361 – Requires Nevada employers to provide employees who are victims of domestic violence with up to 160 hours of domestic violence leave in a 12-month period.

Effective January 1, 2018

New York SB 2543 – Extends the anti-smoking provisions of Public Health Law § 1399-n (which prohibits smoking in certain public areas) to include “vaping” and the use of e-cigarettes.

Effective November 22, 2018

AB A9006C & SB 6406 – Requires employers to provide eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of Paid Family Leave in a 12-month period for qualifying reasons.

Effective January 1, 2018

North Carolina SB 407 (Employee Fair Classification Act) – Creates the Employee Classification Section within the Industrial Commission, which will be responsible for investigating suspected employee misclassification.  Also requires employers post notice relating to employee misclassification.

Effective October 1, 2017

Ohio Admin. Code 4141-11-01 – Requires employers provide all quarterly contribution and wage reports electronically.

Effective January 1, 2018

Oregon HB 3008 — Prohibits employer from requiring employee to create, file or sign documents containing information that employer knows is false related to hours worked or compensation received by employee.

Effective January 1, 2018

SB 299 – Amends the Oregon paid sick leave law to allow employers to limit number of hours of sick time that employees may accrue per year.

Effective January 1, 2018

SB 769 – Enhances protections for the privacy of social security numbers by prohibiting persons (including employers) from disposing of (or transferring to another person for disposal) materials that display an individual’s Social Security number unless (1) before disposing of the material, the person makes Social Security number unreadable or unrecoverable or (2) the person ensures that person that ultimately disposes of media or material makes Social Security number unreadable or unrecoverable.

Effective January 1, 2018

SB828 — Requires large employers in specified industries (employers with 500+ employees in retail, hospitality, and food services) to provide new employee with estimated work schedule and to provide current employee with seven days’ notice of employee work schedule.

Effective July 1, 2018

Rhode Island HB 5182 & SB 175 — Prohibits the use of a non-hands-free personal wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle, except for public safety personnel or in an emergency situation

Effective June 1, 2018

HB 5413 & SB 290 (Paid Sick Leave Law) — Requires employers with eighteen (18) or more employees to provide three (3) paid sick days in 2018, four (4) paid sick days in 2019 and five (5) paid sick days thereafter.

Effective July 1, 2018

SB 676 — Creates a statutory vehicle for the creation and functioning of workers’ cooperatives which are corporations that are owned and democratically governed by their members.

Effective January 1, 2018

Utah SB 249 — Requires employers to file a quarterly withholding return in an electronic format

Effective January 1, 2018

Vermont HB 136 — Requires employers provide a reasonable accommodation for an employee’s pregnancy-related condition, unless the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the employer.

Effective January 1, 2018

HB 462 — Prohibits employers from requiring, requesting, or coercing an employee to provide a social media account username or password, or to present or divulge social media content to the employer. Also prohibits employers from requiring or coercing an employee to add the employer to his or her list of contacts for a social media account.

Effective January 1, 2018

Virginia HB 1646 & SB 1333 – Reduces the maximum portion of an employee’s disposable earnings subject to garnishment.

Effective July 1, 2018

Washington Initiative No. 1433 (Paid Sick Leave Law) – Requires employers to provide paid sick leave to eligible employees.

Effective January 1, 2018

NEW CASE: Connecticut Court Finds Providing Indefinite Leave Is Not A Reasonable Accommodation

In a recent case, Thompson v. Department of Social Services, the Connecticut Appellate Court held that an employer is not required to grant an employee a leave of absence as a reasonable accommodation where the employee requests an indefinite leave and does not respond to the employer’s request to contact her regarding her leave.

The Case

The plaintiff was a long-term employee of the Connecticut Department of Social Services and suffered from a chronic health condition that caused her to take medical leaves of absence (including FMLA leave) throughout her employment.

Following the expiration of an FMLA leave in February of 2013, the plaintiff left a note for the HR department advising that she would be taking additional medical leave starting the next day and lasting “over thirty days depending on my lung condition as I need to get well and my lungs better.”  The plaintiff did not speak to the HR Director in person, but left her contact information along with the instruction to “call me if you have any questions.”

The plaintiff also left the completed paperwork requesting additional leave under short-term disability policies.  However, the information on the two forms was conflicting.  On one form, the plaintiff stated that she was unable to return to work until reevaluated by her physician and that the physician expected “significant improvement in her medical condition” in one to two months. On the other form, the physician claimed that the plaintiff’s need for leave would be “ongoing” and she would be able to return to work “when reevaluated”, although no date was provided for the reevaluation.

Upon receipt of the note and the two forms, the HR department informed the plaintiff via certified mail that she was ineligible for extended leave because she did not provide sufficient information to support her need for additional leave.  The letter further advised the plaintiff that her current time off was unauthorized.  The letter also gave the plaintiff 15 days to provide additional medical certification to support her need for additional leave.

The plaintiff did not respond to this letter and her employment was terminated after the expiration of the 15-day period.  The plaintiff subsequently filed a lawsuit for disability discrimination.

The Holding

The Court that in this case the employer acted properly and that it was not required to provide her with an extended leave of absence when she had, for all intents and purposes, requested an indefinite leave of absence.  Specifically, the court found that her request for leave was not a reasonable accommodation because the plaintiff failed to provide the employer with any time frame for her return and then failed to respond to the employer’s subsequent attempts to contact her regarding her request for leave; thereby depriving the employer of the opportunity to engage in the interactive process with the employee.

Take Home For Employers

This case is significant because it confirms that extending an indefinite leave of absence is not a reasonable accommodation under the ADA.  However, this holding should be taken with a large grain of salt.

Even though this case was ultimately favorable to employers, it does not mean that employers are not required to extend a leave of absence following the expiration of FMLA as a reasonable accommodation.  Instead, it reminds employers of their obligation to engage in the interactive process with an employee who is seeking an extension of FMLA leave to determine whether extending the leave is a reasonable accommodation.  It further confirms that employers have the right to request that an employee provide reasonable documentation relating to their request for accommodation and they have a duty to explore various accommodations with the employee – one of which may be an extension of a leave of absence.

Finally, here the Court found that the employer’s attempts to engage in the interactive process with the employee (by sending two letters) were enough to make a good faith attempt to communicate with the employee.  However, did the employer really go far enough?  This Court thought yes, but other Courts in other jurisdictions have found that merely sending a letter to an employee is an insufficient attempt and employers should attempt to exhaust other lines of communication as well – like calling the employee on the phone.

If faced with a similar situation (an uncommunicative employee), we recommend that employers try multiple ways (phone, email, text message, letter) to contact the employee before reaching the conclusion that the employee is refusing to cooperate.

2018 MINIMUM WAGE CHECK-UP

With various cities and counties having enacted local minimum wages and 18 states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Missouri, New Jersey, New York*, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington) are increasing their own minimum wages on January 1st (December 31st for New York), employers should take time to verify that they are meeting the minimum wage requirements of their state/city/county.

The below chart sets forth the minimum wage effective January 1, 2018.

employer PAYS $1.50/hr towards medical benefits$11.91

Federal $7.25
State City/County  Amount?
Alabama  $7.25
Alaska*  $9.84
Arizona* — all cities/counties except …  $10.50
Flagstaff* $11.00
Arkansas  $8.50
California* — all cities/counties except …                                  small employer (25 or less) $10.50
large employer (26 or more) $11.00
Berkeley  $13.75
Cupertino* $13.50
El Cerrito*  $13.60
Emeryville                                           small employer (55 or less) $14.00
large employer (56 or more) $15.20
Los Altos* $13.50
Los Angeles                                         small employer (25 or less) $10.50
large employer (26 or more) $12.00
Malibu                                                  small employer (25 or less) $10.50
large employer (26 or more) $12.00
Milpitas* $12.00
Mountain View* $15.00
Oakland $12.86
Palo Alto* $13.50
Pasadena                                             small employer (25 or less) $10.50
large employer (26 or more) $12.00
Richmond*                                             employer does NOT pay $1.50/hr towards medical benefits $13.41
employer PAYS $1.50/hr towards medical benefits $11.91
Sacramento*                                      small employer (100 or less) $10.50
large employer (101 or more) $11.00
San Diego $11.50
San Francisco $14.00
San Jose* $13.50
San Leandro $13.00
San Mateo*                                                 For-profit organizations $13.50
Non-profit organizations $12.00
Santa Clara* $13.00
Santa Monica                                       small employer (25 or less) $10.50
large employer (26 or more) $12.00
Sunnyvale* $15.00
Los Angeles County                            small employer (25 or less)

unincorporated areas                            large employer (26 or more)

$10.50

$12.00

Colorado* $10.20
Connecticut $10.10
Delaware $8.25
Florida* $8.25
Georgia $7.25
Hawaii* $10.10
Idaho $7.25
Illinois — all cities/counties except … $8.25
Chicago $11.00
Cook County

(except for the Village of Barrington)

$10.00
Indiana $7.25
Iowa $7.25
Kansas $7.25
Kentucky $7.25
Louisiana $7.25
Maine* — all cities/counties except … $10.00
Portland $10.68
Maryland — all cities/counties except … $9.25
Montgomery County $11.50
Prince George’s County $11.50
Massachusetts $11.00
Michigan* $9.25
Minnesota* — all cities/counties except … “small employers” (employers with an annual sales volume of less than $500,000) $7.87
“large employers” (employers with an annual sales volume of $500,000+) $9.65
Minneapolis                                         large employer (101 or more) $10.00
Mississippi $7.25
Missouri $7.85
Montana* $8.30
Nebraska $9.00
Nevada $8.25
New Hampshire $7.25
New Jersey* $8.60
New Mexico — all cities/counties except … $7.50
Albuquerque*                                             employer provides benefits $7.95
employer does NOT provide benefits $8.95
Las Cruces* $9.45
Santa Fe $11.09
Bernalillo County*unincorporated areas                                             employer provides benefits $7.85
employer does NOT provide benefits $8.85
Santa Fe County unincorporated areas $11.09
New York**  “Upstate” employers (excluding fast food employees) $10.40
“Downstate” employers (excluding fast food employees) $11.00
“Small” NYC employers (excluding fast food employees $12.00
Fast food employees outside NYC $11.75
“Large” NYC employers (excluding fast food employees) $13.00
Fast food employees inside NYC $13.50
North Carolina $7.25
North Dakota $7.25
Ohio* $8.30
Oklahoma $7.25
Oregon — all cities/counties except … $10.25
Portland $11.25
Nonurban Counties 

(Baker, Coos, Crook, Curry, Douglas, Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Jefferson, Klmath, Lake, Malheur, Morrow, Sherman, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa Wheeler counties)

$10.00
Pennsylvania $7.25
Rhode Island* $10.10
South Carolina $7.25
South Dakota* $8.85
Tennessee $7.25
Texas $7.25
Utah $7.25
Vermont* $10.50
Virginia $7.25
Washington* — all cities/counties except … $11.50
City of SeaTac* (hospitality and transportation workers) $15.64
Seattle* $14.00
small employer who does not pay towards medical benefits

(500 or less)

small employer who does pay towards medical benefits

(500 or less)

$11.50
large employer who does not pay towards medical benefits

(501 or more)

$15.00
large employer who does pay towards medical benefits

(501 or more)

$15.45
Tacoma* $12.00
Washington DC $12.50
West Virginia $8.75
Wisconsin $7.25
Wyoming $7.25
 * = increase in minimum wage effective January 1, 2018

** = increase in minimum wage effective December 31, 2017

 

Caveat: Please be advised that this information is being provided as a courtesy and that ePlace Solutions, Inc. does not track local laws and ordinances and will not update this information with changes in local laws and ordinances.

 

 

NEW LAWS – Three New Laws Going Into Effect on October 1, 2017

Attention Connecticut employers — There are three new employment laws going into effect on October 1, 2017, which will affect your workplace.  Are you ready to comply with the following new laws?

Act Concerning Pregnant Women in the Workplace

The most significant new law going into effect is the Act Concerning Pregnant Women in the Workplace.  This law amends the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (CFEPA) to add additional protections for pregnant employees.

Under the previous version of the CFEPA, it is unlawful for an employer to:

  • Terminate an employee because she is pregnant;
  • Refuse to provide an employee who is disabled because of her pregnancy with a reasonable leave of absence (i.e. pregnancy disability leave);
  • Deny an employee who is disabled because of her pregnancy any compensation to which she is entitled as a result of the accumulation of disability or leave benefits accrued pursuant to plans maintained by the employer;
  • Fail or refuse to reinstate the employee to her original job or to an equivalent position with equivalent pay and accumulated seniority, retirement, fringe benefits and other service credits upon her signifying her intent to return unless, in the case of a private employer, the employer’s circumstances have so changed as to make it impossible or unreasonable to do so.

Under the amended CFEPA, employers are also prohibited from:

  • Limiting, segregating or classifying the employee in a way that would deprive her of employment opportunities due to her pregnancy;
  • Discriminating against an employee or person seeking employment on the basis of her pregnancy in the terms or conditions of her employment;
  • Failing or refusing to make a reasonable accommodation for an employee or person seeking employment due to her pregnancy, unless the employer can demonstrate that such an accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the employer;
  • Denying employment opportunities to an employee or person seeking employment if such denial is due to the employee’s request for a reasonable accommodation due to her pregnancy;
  • Forcing an employee or person seeking employment affected by pregnancy to accept a reasonable accommodation if such employee or person seeking employment:
    • does not have a known limitation related to her pregnancy, or
    • does not require a reasonable accommodation to perform the essential duties related to her employment;
  • Requiring an employee to take a leave of absence if a reasonable accommodation can be provided in lieu of such leave; and
  • Retaliating against an employee in the terms, conditions or privileges of her employment based upon such employee’s request for a reasonable accommodation.

Employers are also required to post the new Pregnancy Discrimination Poster in a prominent please in the workplace.  This notice must also be provided to employees as follows:

  • To all existing employees by January 28,2018;
  • To an existing employee within 10 days after she notifies the employer of her pregnancy or related conditions; and
  • To new employees upon commencing employment.

The poster is available in English and Spanish on the Connecticut Department of Labor website.

An Act Concerning the Provision of Notice of a Claim for Compensation by an Employee to an Employer or a Workers’ Compensation Commissioner

This new law is intended to “streamline” the workers’ compensation claims notice process “to ensure that an employer is expeditiously made aware of any workers’ compensation claim made by an employee.”

Under the current law, employers are required to provide a response within 28 days of the receipt of a workers’ compensation claim.  If the employer does not meet this deadline, there is an automatic presumption that full liability for the claim has been acknowledged by the business. The current method has several problems – including:

  • Claims being delivered to a general address,
  • Claims being lost after mailing with no proof of ever having been mailed, or
  • Claims taking extra time to reach the benefits administrator and delaying a company’s response.

The new law attempts to address these issues in the following ways:

  • Employers may choose to post a notice that designates a mailing address where claims for workers’ compensation must be sent. If an employer choses this option, the employer must –
    • Post the notice in the same prominent location as all other workplace posters
    • Provide the designated mailing address to the Connecticut Department of Labor (which will then list the address on its website) and provide any updates to the address.

If the employer follows the above process, then the 28-day period only begins on the date that the notice of a claim is received at that address (in other words, if the employee sends to a different address, the countdown does not start).

  • Employees must mail the notice of claim for workers’ compensation benefits to their employers by certified mail.

Act Concerning the Interstate Passenger Carrier Law

This new law makes certain professional drivers exempt from coverage under the state’s unemployment law.   This exemption applies to drivers under a contract with another party, if that driver:

  • Drives a vehicle that —
    • can transport at least eight passengers, including the driver, and
    • has a gross vehicle weight rating over 6,000 pounds;
  • Owns the vehicle or holds it under a “commercially reasonable” bona fide lease that is not with the contracting party or a related entity;
  • Is paid based on factors that can include mileage-based rates, a percentage of any rate schedules, time spent driving, or a flat fee;
  • Can refuse to work without consequence and can accept work from many contractors without consequence; and
  • Is not considered an employee under the unemployment law’s “ABC Test.”

The benefit for employers, these drivers will not accrue unemployment benefits for their service, and businesses using these drivers are not required to pay unemployment taxes.

NEW CASE: Fluctuating Workweek Prohibited for Certain Connecticut Employees

In a recent decision (Williams v. General Nutrition Ctrs., Inc.) the Connecticut Supreme Court held that the fluctuating workweek method of calculating overtime may not be used to calculate overtime for three types of employees — retail employees paid by commission, delivery drivers, and sales merchandisers.

Under the fluctuating workweek method of calculating overtime, an employer can limit overtime costs by paying an employee whose hours fluctuate from week to week a fixed amount per week as straight time, regardless of the number of hours worked.  In addition, under this method, the payment for overtime hours is just one-half times the regular rate, instead of one and one-half times the rate because the straight time rate is understood to compensate employees for all hours actually worked.

While the Connecticut Supreme Court held that the Connecticut wage and hour laws do not prohibit employers from paying most employees under the fluctuating workweek method, the court found that employers are prohibited from using this method for certain employees due to state regulation (retail employees paid by commission) or state law (delivery drivers and sales merchandisers)

With respect to retail employees paid by commission a state regulation requires retail employers determine commissioned employees’ regular rate of pay by dividing their weekly pay by the hours they usually, rather than actually, work in a week.  Therefore, the fluctuating workweek method may not be used for these employees because it requires consideration of the hours they actually work.

Similarly for delivery drivers and sales merchandisers, a state statute requires employers determine delivery drivers’ and sales merchandisers’ regular rate of pay by dividing the total weekly pay by 40.  As a result, the fluctuating workweek method may not be used for these employees either.

Recommendations for employers

It is recommended that Connecticut employers of these types of employees review their method of calculating the regular rate of pay for these employees and verify that they are complying with Connecticut law.

NEW LAW – Connecticut Extends Protections to Veterans and National Guard Members of Other States

On July 5, 2017, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy signed Public Act No. 17-127 into law. This act amends the Connecticut Human Rights and Opportunities Act to add a person’s “status as a veteran” to the list of protected classes under this law.

As a reminder, the Connecticut Human Rights and Opportunities Act applies to Connecticut employers with three or more employees and prohibits employers from discriminating against an individual in compensation or in terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of his/her protected class.

In addition, the new law also adds “the National Guard of any other state” to the list of services that qualify for leave to perform military duty. Under the current law, any employee who, as a part of that employee’s service in the Connecticut National Guard or any reserve component of the armed forces of the United States, is ordered to perform military duty (including meetings or drills) during regular working hours must be provided a leave of absence to perform military duty. Under the new law, employers must extend these leave rights to employees who are members of the National Guard of any other state.

The new law goes into effect on October 1, 2017.

NEW LAW – Connecticut Extends Additional Protections to Pregnant Employees

On July 6, 2017, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy signed House Bill 6668 (“An Act Concerning Pregnant Women in the Workplace”) into law. This new law expands the anti-discrimination protections for pregnant employees in Connecticut under the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (CFEPA).

The current version of the CFEPA already provides protections for pregnant employees. Specifically, employers are prohibited from:

  • Terminating an employee because she is pregnant;
  • Refusing to provide an employee who is disabled because of her pregnancy with a reasonable leave of absence (i.e. pregnancy disability leave);
  • Denying an employee who is disabled because of her pregnancy any compensation to which she is entitled as a result of the accumulation of disability or leave benefits accrued pursuant to plans maintained by the employer;
  • Failing or refusing to reinstate the employee to her original job or to an equivalent position with equivalent pay and accumulated seniority, retirement, fringe benefits and other service credits upon her signifying her intent to return unless, in the case of a private employer, the employer’s circumstances have so changed as to make it impossible or unreasonable to do so.

Under the amended law, employers are also prohibited from:

  • Limiting, segregating or classifying the employee in a way that would deprive her of employment opportunities due to her pregnancy;
  • Discriminating against an employee or person seeking employment on the basis of her pregnancy in the terms or conditions of her employment;
  • Failing or refusing to make a reasonable accommodation for an employee or person seeking employment due to her pregnancy, unless the employer can demonstrate that such an accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the employer;
  • Denying employment opportunities to an employee or person seeking employment if such denial is due to the employee’s request for a reasonable accommodation due to her pregnancy;
  • Forcing an employee or person seeking employment affected by pregnancy to accept a reasonable accommodation if such employee or person seeking employment:
    • does not have a known limitation related to her pregnancy, or
    • does not require a reasonable accommodation to perform the essential duties related to her employment;
  • Requiring an employee to take a leave of absence if a reasonable accommodation can be provided in lieu of such leave; and
  • Retaliating against an employee in the terms, conditions or privileges of her employment based upon such employee’s request for a reasonable accommodation.

The amended law also provides the following definitions:

  • “Pregnancy” means pregnancy, childbirth or a related condition, including, but not limited to, lactation;
  • “Reasonable accommodation” means, but shall not be limited to, being permitted to sit while working, more frequent or longer breaks, periodic rest, assistance with manual labor, job restructuring, light duty assignments, modified work schedules, temporary transfers to less strenuous or hazardous work, time off to recover from childbirth or break time and appropriate facilities for expressing breast milk; and
  • “Undue hardship” means an action requiring significant difficulty or expense when considered in light of factors such as
    • the nature and cost of the accommodation;
    • the overall financial resources of the employer;
    • the overall size of the business of the employer with respect to the number of employees, and the number, type and location of its facilities; and
    • the effect on expenses and resources or the impact otherwise of such accommodation upon the operation of the employer.

Finally, under the new law, employers are required to provide all employees with a written notice explaining their “right to be free from discrimination in relation to pregnancy, childbirth and related conditions, including the right to a reasonable accommodation to the known limitations related to pregnancy.” Employers can comply with this requirement by posting a poster in a prominent place in the workplace.

The new law goes into effect on October 1, 2017. It is recommended that employers review their policies and procedures relating to pregnant employees and update those policies/procedures as necessary to comply with the new law. In addition, employers must be prepared to post the new notice starting October 1st.