Keeping Employees Informed

by Pullman & Comley - Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits Law

Every Connecticut workplace is required to have a variety of informational postings for employees, on topics such as OSHA, workers’ compensation, wage and hour pay requirements, and prohibitions on discrimination and sexual harassment.  Posters can be purchased from printing companies, and every business has a “poster corner” in employee lunchrooms, break rooms or locker rooms.

But there are also a number of more obscure requirements for notices to be given in particular situations.  This article in our blog series on Connecticut employment statutes will review some of these other notice statutes:

Section 31-40c requires employers to post a list of all carcinogenic substances which are used or produced in manufacturing, or for research, experimentation or treatment.  The substances that are to be posted are identified in public health statutes. In addition to the posting, each employee is to be given a list of carcinogenic substances each year.  The statute actually says that the employees are to be furnished the list “on January 1st of each year,” but the next work day after New Year’s Day is probably good enough.

Section 31-40g, reported on in a prior blog article, requires employers to inform prospective employees of chemicals or other substances in the workplace which could cause a risk of birth defects or constitute a hazard to an individual’s reproductive system.

Section 31-40k requires employers to post a sign, at a location readily available for viewing by employees, which informs the employees that they have the right to information regarding toxic substances in the workplace.

Section 31-48d requires employers to give written notice to any employees who may be affected by electronic monitoring, which is defined as collection of information on employee work activities by means of monitoring computers or telephones, or by use of a camera or other recording systems.  In addition to the individual written notice, employers are supposed to post a notice in a conspicuous place.  The statute has an exception for monitoring based on reasonable grounds to believe that an employee is engaged in illegal conduct, including creating a hostile work environment.

A statute passed in 1993, before the ubiquity of cellphones, but still on the books as Section 31-51jj, requires employers to notify employees of an emergency incoming telephone call for the employee if the caller states that the emergency involves the employee’s family member or a person previously designated by the employee as a decision-maker on various medical matters. An emergency is defined as a death or serious illness or injury.

Section 46a-60(a)(7) creates procedures for dealing with an employee pregnancy when the nature of the employee’s work may cause injury to the employee or the fetus.  The statute requires that employers inform pregnant employees of their right to  be transferred  to a suitable temporary position if one is available, provided the employee gives written notice of the pregnancy.  Then if the employee requests such a transfer and the employer refuses to make a reasonable effort to arrange a transfer, the employer must give written notice to the employee of her right to appeal the lack of transfer to the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities.

There are also a couple of statutes that apply before and after actual employment.  Section 31-51v mandates that job applicants be informed in writing at the time of application of the employer’s intent to conduct a pre-employment urinalysis drug test.  Section 31-51s requires notice to retired employees who are receiving retiree health or life insurance benefits of the intended date of the sale of the business.  The notice must be given at least 30 days in advance of the sale, and must inform the retired employees of the status of their insurance benefits after the sale.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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