New Laws Affecting Employers Go Into Effect October 1 – Are You Ready?
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During the last legislative session, several new laws were passed that affect employers.  A few of them go into effect on Friday, October 1, 2021.  If you have not started preparing for them, now is the time.

1.         Breastfeeding in the Workplace

This amends the current law and requires that lactation rooms in the workplace (provided there is no undue hardship), must (1) be free from intrusion and shielded from the public while the employee expresses milk, (2) include or be situated near a refrigerator (or an “employee-provided portable cold storage device”) where the employee can store expressed breast milk, and (3) include access to an electrical outlet.  If you have not yet updated an identified lactation room that meets these requirements, you should do so promptly.

2.         Age-Based Inquiries of Job Applicants

As of October 1, 2021, the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act makes it a discriminatory act to request or require a prospective employee’s age, date of birth, or dates of attendance at or date of graduation from an educational institution on an initial employment application.  The only exceptions are if the employer is requesting or requiring such information “based on a bona fide occupational qualification or need,” or if such information is required to comply with any provision of state or federal law.  Employers should be amending their job applications to remove any improper questions.

3.         Salary Ranges for Vacancies

This Act requires employers to provide applicants with salary ranges for vacant positions upon request or at the time an offer of compensation is made.  It also requires employers to provide wage ranges to current employees upon a position change. Finally, it revises the state’s gender-based equal pay act by requiring employers to provide employees, regardless of sex, with “comparable” pay for “comparable” work.  More detailed information of the requirements of the law, and what must be disclosed and when, can be found in this post written by my colleague Andres Jimenez Franck.

4.         Marijuana and Smoking Restrictions

As of October 1, 2021, smoking of any kind (including tobacco, marijuana and vaping) is prohibited within twenty-five feet of any door, window or vent intake of any building open to the public, including restaurants and retail stores.  The law also prohibits “smoking rooms” in places of employment.

5.         Public Sector Unions

Starting October 1, 2021, public sector employers must provide their unions (or other representative organizations) with certain personal and contact information, in a digital format, on newly hired employees.  Starting January 1, 2022, the employer will need to provide this information for all current employees as well and update it, at a minimum, every 120 days.  The Act also requires employers to provide unions with access to new employee orientations, provide unions access to employees (even during the workday), and gives unions access to the employers’ e-mail systems to communicate with the employees they represent.  The Act also includes specifications as to union dues deduction and how that must be handled.  This was discussed in more detail in a previous post by my colleague Mark Sommaruga.

October 1, 2021 is coming up quickly.  Make sure your business is set to comply with these new laws.  If you have any questions or need assistance, please reach out to one of the attorneys in our Labor and Employment Practice.

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