April 13, 2021

Volume XI, Number 103


April 12, 2021

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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 Gambardella Litigation lawyer Wiggin Dana

Mary brings decades of experience in helping clients comply with ever-changing labor laws and regulations, as well as in managing employment challenges such as sensitive terminations, sexual harassment, reductions in workforce, discrimination claims, and severance agreements. She is a proactive resource for clients seeking her counsel on a variety of human resource issues before they become a costly crisis, as well as a fierce advocate when crises arise.

Mary is Chair of the firm’s Labor, Employment and Benefits Department and regularly represents employers in...

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Lawrence Peikes Employment litigation lawyer Wiggin Dana

Larry represents the interests of management in all aspects of the employer-employee relationship and is particularly experienced in litigation defense. He has advocated for employers in a wide range of employment cases—before arbitrators, mediators, and government agencies as well as in state and federal courts. In a field where most attorneys rarely appear before a judge, let alone a jury, Larry has successfully tried cases on both the federal and state levels. Despite his extensive courtroom experience, Larry is first and foremost dedicated to finding the best, most...

Caroline Park Labor and employment lawyer Wiggin Dana

Caroline is Counsel in Wiggin and Dana's Labor, Employment and Benefits Department and is a member of the firm’s Diversity Committee.

Caroline’s practice encompasses federal and state court litigation and the arbitration and mediation of employment discrimination claims, wrongful discharge claims, wage and hour claims, disputes over the enforcement of covenants not to compete, and other employment-related disagreements. Caroline also represents employers in cases involving claims of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, before the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities...

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