New Connecticut Normal Meeting Labor Laws Updates

The Connecticut 2021 legislature began on January 6, 2021 and ended on June 9, 2021. The legislature also held a special session from June 15 to 17, 2021. Several laws were passed by both the House of Representatives and the Senate, and by Governor Ned. signed Lamont. Others are waiting for the governor’s signature. Employers should be aware of the following new work and employment related laws.

Law signed by the governor

Public Law No. 21-2: A law that creates a respectful and open world for natural hair

The new law changes the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act, which already prohibits employers with three or more employees from discriminating against workers based on protected traits – namely religion, national origin, foreigner, color, race, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual Orientation, blindness, intellectual disability, physical disability, or veteran status. Specifically, the bill states that “race” is intended to encompass ethnic characteristics historically associated with race, including hair structure and protective hairstyles. It specifies that protective hairstyles should include braids, cornrows, locs, twists, bantu knots, afros, and afro puffs. This law came into force when it was passed.

Public Law No. 21-27: Law on Breastfeeding in the Workplace

The new law, which comes into effect October 1, 2021, modifies Connecticut’s existing law on breastfeeding in the workplace by requiring that breastfeeding rooms: (1) be free from intruders and protected from the public while the employee is milk pumps out; (2) include or are near a refrigerator or worker-provided portable cold store where a worker can store expressed breast milk; and (3) include access to an electrical outlet. Employers with one or more employees must follow these requirements as long as they do not constitute undue hardship for the employer.

Public Law No. 21-30: Law on Disclosure of Salary Range for a Vacant Position

From October 1, 2021, employers with one or more employees must disclose the salary range for a vacant position to all applicants before or at the time of a compensation offer or at the applicant’s request, whichever comes first. The bill also requires employers to disclose the wage range for an employee’s position when they are hired, when the employee changes position, or when the employee first requests such information. “Wage Margin” is defined as “the range of wages that an employer will rely on in determining wages for a position”. In addition, the draft law provides that employees can demonstrate gender discrimination in employment if they are paid less than the employer pays employees of the opposite sex for comparable (rather than equal) work. For more information on this bill, see Robinson + Cole’s Legislative Update on the Legislation here.

Senate Bill No. 1201: A Act to Responsibly and Fairly Regulate Adult Cannabis Use

The law legalizes the possession and recreational use of marijuana for adults aged 21 and over from July 1, 2021. Commercial marijuana sales in the state are expected to begin in late May 2022, requiring a labor peace treaty with a labor organization as well as a labor peace agreement prior to building a cannabis operation To conclude a project employment contract; However, these requirements are likely to raise potential pre-emption issues under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Employers should also consider the impact of this bill on drug testing programs, particularly pre-employment testing.

Senate Bill No. 1202: An Act on Regulations Regarding Revenue and Other Items to Execute the State Budget for the Biennium through June 30, 2023

The bill contains several work and employment-related provisions, including a notification requirement for call centers moving out of Connecticut; an obligation that every employer grants its employees two hours of unpaid leave for state elections; a requirement that employers subject to the Unemployment Act, with 100 or more employees, report the gender, age, race, ethnicity, veteran status, disability status and highest level of education of each employee; various changes to the Connecticut Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA); and a ban on employers misinforming or deliberately preventing workers from seeking compensation.

Legislation awaiting the governor’s signature

Public Law No. 21-69: A law to deter age discrimination in job applications

The draft law prohibits employers with three or more employees from asking for age, date of birth, date (s) of graduation or dates of visits to an educational institution when applying for the first time. The legislature provides an exception if the application is based on a good professional qualification or if the information is required to comply with federal or state law.

Public Law No. 21-107: A law extending compensation payments to employees for certain mental or emotional impairments suffered by healthcare providers related to COVID-19

The bill increases employee compensation benefits available to certain individuals, including healthcare providers, police officers and telecommunications workers, for post-traumatic stress disorder related to certain COVID-19-related traumatic events in the course of their employment. These events include witnessing the death of a person from COVID-19, witnessing an injury to a person who later dies from COVID-19, physical contact with or other care for a person who later dies from COVID-19, and witnessing a traumatic assault resulting in the loss of a vital body function of a person due to COVID-19.

Public Law No. 21-109: Law on the Duties and Responsibilities of the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities

The bill allows employers to waive training on the prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace for employees who receive compulsory in-person training within two years of being hired by another employer or online training from the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO ) have participated. The bill also requires that state institutions’ equality officers investigate discrimination complaints filed against the institution, even if a complaint has also been filed with the CHRO or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

House Bill No. 6378: A bill codifying prevailing wage contract rates

Rather than allowing the Labor Commissioner to either set the applicable wage rates himself or to adopt the Federal Labor Minister’s applicable collective bargaining rules, the draft law sets out his own method that the Labor Commissioner must use to set the applicable wage rates for public works projects. It establishes one process for construction, heavy and highway projects and another for residential projects. In the case of construction, heavy construction and road construction projects, the client is obliged to adapt the applicable hourly wage to the collective agreement or the agreement between employers or employers’ associations and labor organizations that apply to this trade or profession in the city in which the project is being built. When more than one collective agreement is in place, the draft law requires that the applicable wage rate be determined by the collective agreement of the “historical jurisdiction” rather than the “dominant” collective agreement. If no collective agreement is in force, the agent must adopt the applicable collective wages set by the federal government. In the case of residential projects, the commissioner must assume the collective wages set by the federal government.

Senate Law No. 658: A law requiring employers to recall certain laid-off workers in the order of seniority [Relates to COVID-19 Lay Offs]

The bill relates to employees who were employed during the COVID-19 pandemic (after March 10, 2020 and until December 31, 2024) due to business losses or a reduction or leave of absence in the employer’s workforce or for other economic, non-disciplinary reasons were fired reason. The bill requires all employers to notify laid-off workers of any vacancy for which they are qualified. To be qualified, the employee must either have held the same or a similar position at the time of separation, or be qualified with the same training that a new employee would receive. The employer offers the job to a laid-off employee who is qualified for the job. If more than one laid-off employee has a preference for a job based on their level of qualification, the job should be offered to the employee with the longest tenure with the company.

These new laws may require employers to change some of their employment practices and policies. When employers are reviewing the new laws to see how they will affect their jobs, they may want to speak to a knowledgeable legal counsel to ensure compliance with those laws.

Copyright © 2021 Robinson & Cole LLP. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 175

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