In January of 2019, Connecticut implemented legislation that, among other things, prohibited employers from inquiring about an applicant’s prior salary history. The Nutmeg State took it a step further yesterday, when Governor Ned Lamont signed House Bill No. 6380, titled “An Act Concerning the Disclosure of Salary Range for a Vacant Position.” As the name suggests, the new law requires employers to disclose the “wage range” for vacant positions to employees and prospective employees, under a variety of circumstances.
In addition to preexisting restrictions, the new law makes it unlawful for an employer to:
- “Fail or refuse to provide an applicant for employment the wage range for a position for which the applicant is applying, upon the earliest of (A) the applicant’s request, or (B) prior to or at the time the applicant is made an offer of compensation; or”
- “Fail or refuse to provide an employee the wage range for the employee’s position upon (A) the hiring of the employee, or (B) a change in the employee’s position with the employer, or (C) the employee’s first request for a wage range.”
The law defines “wage range” as “the range of wages an employer anticipates relying on when setting wages for a position, and may include reference to any applicable pay scale, previously determined range of wages for the position, actual range of wages for those employees currently holding comparable positions or the employer’s budgeted amount for the position.” As with the 2019 pay equity law, the law does not require an employer to “disclose the amount of wages paid to any employee.”
Significantly, the law allows employees or prospective employees to bring a private right of action to address alleged violations of the law. If successful, the individual can seek compensatory damages, attorneys’ fees and costs, punitive damages, and other equitable relief. The new requirements are effective on October 1, 2021.
The law also modifies the prohibition against engaging in gender-based discriminatory pay practices. For example, it has been unlawful for an employer to “on the basis of sex” pay wages to employees “at a rate less than the rate at which the employer pays wages to employees of the opposite sex … for equal work on a job.” [Emphasis added.] The law now makes it unlawful to engage in gender-based pay discrimination “for comparable work on a job.” [Emphasis added.] According to the law, determining whether the work is “comparable” requires a review of various factors, such as “skill, effort, and responsibility” required by the positions. According to the law, employers must also demonstrate that any pay disparity is based on “a bona fide factor other than sex, including, but not limited to, education, training, credential, skill, geographic location or experience.”
In light of the new requirements, Connecticut employers may want to review their practices in relation to disclosing salary ranges, to ensure that they provide the information to employees and prospective employees in a timely fashion. In some cases, employers will be required to implement salary ranges where they did not previously exist. This may require employers to review and adjust their existing salary practices and address any apparent disparities in pay practices.
Ogletree Deakins will monitor any developments concerning this new pay equity law and will post updates to the firm’s Connecticut blog.