RPJ Partner Deena R. Merlen Discusses New Employment Laws Effective as of January 1, 2019 in New York and Connecticut

Ringing in the New Year, both New York and Connecticut have important new employment laws that took effect as of January 1, 2019.

In Connecticut, under Connecticut’s Pay Equity Law, as of January 1, 2019 employers (and third parties acting on behalf of employers) may not ask an employee or job applicant about his or her compensation history. Connecticut joins many states and municipalities that have enacted such “salary history bans” to help end the perpetuation of historic pay inequities that disproportionately impact women and other marginalized groups.

Under the new law, an employer or third party acting on the employer’s behalf may inquire about the employee or prospective employee’s wage or salary history only under the following limited circumstances:

  • in regard to actions taken by an employer, employment agency or their employees or agents under a state or federal law that specifically authorizes the disclosure or verification of salary history for employment purposes; or
  • if the job candidate voluntarily provides information about his or her wage or salary history without prompting.

Interestingly, Connecticut’s Pay Equity Law does permit an employer to inquire about elements of an employee or prospective employee’s prior compensation structure other than wages or salary (such as stock options), provided that the employer does not inquire about the value of the elements of such compensation structure.

If a person believes that his or her rights under Connecticut’s Pay Equity Law have been violated, he or she has up to two years from the alleged violation in which to bring a claim against the employer and may seek damages including compensatory damages, attorneys’ fees and costs, punitive damages and such legal and equitable relief as the court deems just and proper.

Meanwhile, in New York, in connection with state contracts, as of January 1, 2019 bids must contain language that affirms that the bidding entity provides annual sexual harassment training to all of its employees and has implemented a written policy addressing sexual harassment in the workplace.  Bids that do not contain the required language will not be considered unless the bidder provides a signed statement setting forth in detail the reasons why it cannot meet the requirements. For information on our firm’s training programs that satisfy training requirements in New York and elsewhere, please click here.

This article is intended only as a general discussion of these issues. It is not considered to be legal advice or relied upon in regard to particular legal matters. If you seek assistance with a particular employment law or labor law matter, please contact Deena R. Merlen to discuss.

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