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Connecticut Employers Cannot Inquire About an Applicant’s Compensation History Beginning January 1, 2019

On Tuesday, Governor Malloy signed into law a bill amending Connecticut’s Act Concerning Pay Equity so that, with limited exceptions, Connecticut employers will no longer be allowed to inquire about an applicant’s wage and salary history. Following the trend set by states that have enacted pay equity measures, including Massachusetts, Connecticut’s pay equity law imposes a number of restrictions on employers.

Beginning January 1, 2019, Connecticut employers with one or more employees (practically speaking, all Connecticut employers) will be prohibited from inquiring, either directly or through a third party, about a prospective employee’s wage and salary history. The prospective employee may voluntarily disclose its wage or salary history, however.

The salary history inquiry prohibition does have two important exceptions. First, it does not prohibit employers from taking an employment action under a federal or state law that specifically authorizes disclosing or verifying salary history for employment purposes. Second, the Act allows inquiries about compensation structure, as long as the employer does not inquire about the value of specific elements of the compensation structure (for example, stock options).

It bears noting that the Act already imposes several restrictions on employers with the goal of safeguarding pay equity. For example, employers cannot prohibit employees from disclosing or discussing their wages or another employee’s wages that have been disclosed voluntarily. Employers also cannot prohibit employers from inquiring about another employee’s wages, or require an employee waive these rights.

An employer that violates the Act could be liable for compensatory damages, attorneys’ fees and costs, punitive damages, and other equitable relief deemed proper by a court. There is a two-year statute of limitations to file a claim under the Act.

Employers are encouraged to review their employment applications to ensure that the applications do not inquire about prospective employees’ salary or wage history. Employers should also advise any employees with hiring responsibilities of the new salary inquiry restrictions.

© Copyright 2019 Murtha Cullina


About this Author

Matthew Curtin, Murtha Cullina Law Firm, Hartford, Labor and Employment Litigation Attorney

Matthew Curtin is a Partner in the Litigation Department and Labor and Employment Practice Group. 

Matthew represents private and public sector employers in all aspects of labor and employment law.  He has successfully represented employers concerning a wide variety of claims before the National Labor Relations Board, the Connecticut State Board of Mediation and Arbitration, the Connecticut State Board of Labor Relations, the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, and in both federal and state court. Matthew has substantial...

Madiha Malik, Murtha Cullina Law Firm, Labor and Employment Litigation Attorney

Madiha Malik is an Associate in the firm’s Litigation Department.  She represents clients in a wide range of civil matters, with an emphasis on labor and employment law.

Madiha received her B.A. from the George Washington University where she received degrees in Journalism and International Affairs.  Madiha earned her J.D. from the University of Connecticut School of Law.  During law school, Madiha served as a Law Clerk at the U.S. Department of Justice Federal Tort Claims Act Section and held an externship at the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut in the Civil Division.