As of January 1, 2019, Connecticut employers are prohibited from inquiring about prospective employees’ wage or salary histories. Connecticut’s new pay equity law is intended to promote equality in pay and close the wage gap. Under the new law, employers—defined as entities having “one or more employees”—are also prohibited from using a third party to inquire about any applicant’s wage or salary history. Employers may still inquire about the components of an applicant’s compensation structure—for example, retirement benefits or stock option plans—but they may not inquire about the value of any individual component.
Nothing in the law prevents an employer from verifying salary information if a prospective employee voluntarily discloses such information. Additionally, the law does not apply where a federal or state law “specifically authorizes disclosure or verification of salary history” in the employment context.
A private right of action exists for violations of the law, and a prospective employee can potentially recover compensatory damages, attorneys’ fees and costs, and punitive damages. A two-year statute of limitations applies.
In light of this new law, Connecticut employers should revise their employment applications to remove any requests for candidates’ salary histories. Employers that have hiring policies and/or hiring scripts should revise these documents to remove any questions about salary histories. Further, employers may want to affirmatively state that it is the employer’s policy not to make such inquiries. Connecticut employers may also want to ensure that any employees involved in interviewing candidates are trained on the new law and understand that they should not be asking about salary history information. Finally, employers may want to verify that any third parties they are using to help screen candidates are aware of and in compliance with the new law.