On June 7, 2021, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed legislation amending the state’s existing salary history inquiry and pay equity statutes. As we discuss below, this amendment – which goes into effect on October 1, 2021 – places additional obligations on Connecticut employers and modifies the existing standard for pay equity claims in the state.
Newly required wage range disclosures
Under the newly-adopted measures, Connecticut employers will be barred from engaging in the following actions related to the disclosure of wage ranges:
- Failing or refusing to provide an applicant for employment the wage range for a position for which the applicant is applying, upon the earliest of (A) the applicant’s request, or (B) prior to or at the time the applicant is made an offer of compensation; and,
- Failing or refusing to provide an employee the wage range for the employee’s position upon (A) the hiring of the employee, (B) a change in the employee’s position with the employer, or (C) the employee’s first request for a wage range.
The amendment defines “wage range” as “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.”
Under the prior iteration of the law, employers were prohibited from: (i) prohibiting employees from discussing wages, (ii) requiring employees to sign a waiver denying them the ability to discuss wages, (iii) inquiring as to a prospective employee’s salary history, and (iv) discriminating or retaliating against an employee for discussing wages with another employee. These prohibitions remain under the revised statute.
The new law maintains the existing two-year statute of limitations for violations. A successful plaintiff-employee remains entitled to compensatory damages, attorney’s fees and costs, and punitive damages.
Updated pay equity standard
In addition to requiring employers to provide wage ranges to applicants and employees, the new law also modifies the state’s existing equal pay law. Previously, it was unlawful for an employer to compensate an employee of one sex at a rate less than the rate at which the employer pays wages to employees of the opposite sex at such business for “equal work on a job.”
Now, under the revised statute, employers are prohibited from engaging in discriminatory pay practices for “comparable work on a job.” Determining whether the work is “comparable” requires a review of various factors, such as “skill, effort, and responsibility” required by the positions. Employers must also demonstrate that any pay disparity is based on “a bona fide factor other than sex, including, but not limited to, education, training, credential, skill, geographic location or experience.”
In advance of October 1, Connecticut employers should review their wage practices and policies, as well as existing hiring protocols, to ensure compliance with these new requirements. In addition, Connecticut employers should consider conducting an audit of their existing compensation structures to ensure that employees are being compensated appropriately based upon bona fide factors.
If you have any questions or concerns about Connecticut’s wage range disclosure and pay equity law or how it affects your company, Reed Smith’s experienced Labor & Employment Group is ready to speak with you.