Two major legislative amendments to Connecticut’s employment statutes go into effect on October 1, 2021, both of which involve employers’ hiring practices.
The first amendment, in Public Act 21-69 entitled “An Act Deterring Age Discrimination In Employment Applications,” reflects a new basis for protecting against age-related discrimination. The amendment to the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (“CFEPA”), Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46a-60(b)(12), makes it a discriminatory practice for an employer with two or more employees (or an employer’s agent) to inquire about certain age-related information on initial employment applications. Specifically, employers will now be prohibited from asking or requiring a prospective employee to provide his/her age, date of birth, or dates of attendance at or graduation from any educational institution on an initial application. Two specific exceptions apply:(i) if such age-related information is a bona fide occupational qualification for the position, or (ii) if such information is required for the employer to comply with any state or federal laws. Note that, because the new amendment specifically refers to “initial employment applications,” the restriction on requiring such information does not appear to apply to subsequent forms related to employment or subsequent inquiries during the hiring process.
The second amendment, in Public Act 21-30 entitled “An Act Concerning the Disclosure of Salary Range for a Vacant Position,” expands on Connecticut’s existing “Pay Equity” laws. Under the new provisions in Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 31-40z(b)(8) and (9), employers with one or more employees are prohibited from failing or refusing to provide (i) a job applicant with wage range information for a position sought by the applicant upon the earlier of the applicant’s request or prior to or at the time an offer of compensation is made by the employer, or (ii) an employee with wage range information for the employee’s position, either upon hiring the employee, on a change in the employee’s position, or at the employee’s first request for such information. The wage information that must be disclosed under these provisions is specifically defined to include “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.” Conn. Gen. Stat. § 31-40z(a)(4). An employer must accordingly provide wage range information to any new applicants, and must also provide such information to existing employees if any of the three criteria are met. The new provisions do not require an employer to disclose another employee’s wages.
We strongly recommend that employers immediately review and revise job postings and applications to comply with these new laws by eliminating any request for age-related information (unless an exception applies) and by including lines for providing compliant wage-range information. Employers should train HR personnel on what can and cannot be asked of job applicants. Employers should also be prepared to address inquiries from existing employees who seek information on wage ranges for specific positions.