On May 17, 2019, Connecticut lawmakers passed House Bill 5004, “An Act Increasing the Minimum Fair Wage,” which raises the state’s minimum wage, in increments, to $15 per hour by 2023. Governor Ned Lamont has pledged to sign the bill.
Articles Discussing General Topics In Connecticut Employment Law.
On April 23, 2019, the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights & Opportunities (CHRO) issued a Best Practices Bluepaper as guidance for employers with three or more employees facing accommodation requests from employees for pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions.
As we move deeper into the 2019 legislative season, the Connecticut General Assembly is considering several proposed bills in the state House and Senate that—if enacted—would affect employers in significant ways. With a substantial Democratic majority in both the House and the Senate—and a newly elected Democratic governor—there is a good chance that several employee-friendly bills will pass this year, including a new paid family and medical leave program. Below is an overview of the more meaningful bills that were recently reported out of the Labor and Public Employees Committee for review and action by the full Connecticut House and Senate.
The State of Connecticut has announced that in January 2019 it will begin requiring private-sector employers without their own workplace-based retirement plans to enroll employees in Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs) sponsored by the state. The requirement stems from legislation enacted in 2016 that is intended to help employees save for retirement.
A Federal District Court in Connecticut has held an employer liable for discrimination under Connecticut state law for rescinding an offer to an employee who tested positive for use of medical marijuana, even though the employer was a federal contractor applying its zero-tolerance drug-testing policy. See Noffsinger v. SSC Niantic Operating Co., LLC, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150453 (D. Conn., Sept. 5, 2018).
A Connecticut federal court has issued another decision in the case of Noffsinger v. SSC Niantic Operating Company LLC, further expanding protections to individuals who are qualified under Connecticut’s Palliative Use of Marijuana Act (PUMA) to use marijuana. In 2017, the same court held that various federal laws prohibiting use and sale of marijuana do not prohibit employers from hiring individuals who use marijuana in compliance with state law.1 The decision, Noffsinger I, was also the first to imply a private cause of action under PUMA’s employment anti-discrimination provisions.
A federal court in Connecticut has held that refusing to hire a medical marijuana user who tested positive on a pre-employment drug test violates the state’s medical marijuana law. The Court granted summary judgment to the applicant on her claim for employment discrimination but declined to award her attorneys’ fees or punitive damages. The Court also dismissed her claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress. Noffsinger v. SSC Niantic Operating Co., LLC, d/b/a Bride Brook Health & Rehab. Ctr., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150453 (D. Conn. Sept. 5, 2018).
Refusing to hire a medical marijuana user because she tested positive on a pre-employment drug test violates Connecticut’s medical marijuana law, a federal court in Connecticut has held, granting summary judgment to the job applicant on her employment discrimination claim. Noffsinger v. SSC Niantic Operating Co., LLC, d/b/a Bride Brook Nursing & Rehab. Ctr., No. 3:16-cv-01938, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150453 (D. Conn. Sept. 5, 2018).
Last week, the NLRB announced that it would be issuing proposed rulemaking on joint employer standards this summer.
Connecticut is the latest state to prohibit employers from asking prospective employees about past compensation. Effective January 1, 2019, employers may not ask (directly or through a third party) about a prospective employee’s wage and salary history unless the prospective employee volunteers the information.
Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy signed Public Act No. 18-8, “An Act Concerning Pay Equity,” into law on May 22, 2018, making Connecticut the sixth state to prohibit employers from asking applicants about salary history. California, Delaware, Massachusetts, Oregon and Vermont had previously adopted similar bans. The new Connecticut law will permit applicants to file lawsuits for damages and other remedies.
Physician practices and other health care providers respond to numerous requests for confidential patient information from patients and others. Mistakes made by employees fulfilling such requests for medical records or making similar disclosures can expose the practice to civil litigation.
State wage regulations promulgated by the Connecticut Department of Labor prohibit use of the “fluctuating work week” method of calculating overtime pay for mercantile (retail) employees, the Connecticut Supreme Court has held. Williams v. General Nutrition Centers, Inc., 326 Conn. 651 (Conn. 2017). The Court was responding to a certified question from the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut.
Connecticut’s “An Act Concerning Pregnant Women in the Workplace” strengthens considerably the workplace protections for pregnant employees and applies to employers who employ at least three employees. The Act takes effect on October 1, 2017.
A new Connecticut law significantly enhances existing anti-discrimination protections for pregnant employees. “An Act Concerning Pregnant Women in the Workplace,” (the “Act”) signed into law by Governor Dannel Malloy on July 6, 2017 and effective October 1, 2017, amends the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (the “CFEPA”) to modify existing protections and add a host of new protections for pregnant employees. The Act also provides broad definitions of the terms “pregnancy,” “reasonable accommodation,” and “undue hardship.”