September 19, 2018

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Connecticut Bans Employers From Inquiring about Applicants' Pay History

Connecticut is about to join a growing number of states and localities that have prohibited employers from inquiring about an applicant's pay history during the hiring process. On May 4, the General Assembly approved a bill barring employers from asking, or directing a third party to ask about a prospective employee's wage and salary history. The bill is now headed to Governor Dannel Malloy for signature, who has already expressed his support for the legislation and his intention to sign it.

Similar legislation has been enacted in New Jersey, New York, and California, among other states. Such laws are aimed at ending pay disparities on the theory that reliance on prior salary in setting wage rates may perpetuate historical gender-based pay discrepancies.

Connecticut's prohibition does not apply:

  • if the prospective employee voluntarily discloses his or her wage and salary history, or

  • to any actions taken by an employer, employment agency, or its employees or agents under a federal or state law that specifically authorizes the disclosure or verification of salary history for employment purposes.

The bill permits employers to ask about other elements of a prospective employee's compensation structure (e.g., eligibility for stock options), so long as there is no inquiry into the value of those elements.

An aggrieved employee or prospective employee may bring a lawsuit within two years after an alleged violation of the ban on asking about salary histories. Employers may be found liable for compensatory damages, attorneys' fees and costs, punitive damages and other legal or equitable relief as the court may deem just and proper.

Pending the governor's signature, the new law will take effect on January 1, 2019. In the meantime, employers should review job applications and make any necessary revisions to remove inquiries regarding applicants' current salary. Employers should also ensure that personnel involved in the hiring process are properly trained on the new restrictions.

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Mary A. Gambardella Stamford Labor Attorney
Partner

Mary A. Gambardella is a Partner in the Stamford office and is the Chair of the Labor, Employment and Benefits Department, Co-Chair of the Diversity Committee and Chair of the Women's Network Committee.

Ms. Gambardella has decades of experience assisting clients in a wide range of industries, as well as educational institutions, in developing and implementing policies and procedures to ensure compliance with ever-changing laws and regulations; dealing with employment decisions in all categories, including sensitive discipline and termination processes; complicated leaves of absence...

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Lawrence Peikes is a partner in the firm's Stamford office where he represents management in all aspects of labor and employment law.  Lawrence's practice encompasses federal and state court litigation, arbitration and mediation of employment discrimination claims, wrongful discharge claims, wage and hour claims, disputes over the enforcement of covenants not to compete, trade secret protection, and other employment related controversies.  Lawrence also represents employers in administrative proceedings before such agencies as the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, The National Labor Relations Board, the U.S. and Connecticut Departments of Labor, and other administrative bodies charged with the enforcement of federal and state labor laws.  In addition, Lawrence regularly counsels employers with respect to employee terminations and discipline, collective bargaining, employment contracts, workplace discrimination issues, alternative dispute resolution, and all other aspects of the employment relationship.  Lawrence frequently lectures and writes on employment law issues, such as sexual harassment and developments under the federal civil rights laws.  Lawrence served as a Chapter Editor on the BNA's recently published Fair Labor Standards Act treatise.

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Caroline Park, Wiggin and Dana Law Firm, Employment Attorney, NLRB
Associate

Caroline Park is an associate in the firm's Labor, Employment and Benefits Department and is a member of the Diversity Committee.

Caroline has successfully represented employers in grievance arbitration matters and unfair labor practice proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board. She has also represented employers in cases involving claims of discrimination and retaliation before the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities and in state and federal court. In addition, Caroline advises employers on a broad range of personnel...

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