Connecticut Update: Recreational Marijuana, Captive Audience Meetings, and Leave Notices Requirements Take Effect July 1, 2022

The Connecticut legislature has been busy in 2021 and 2022. Approximately twelve months ago, it passed legislation effectively legalizing recreational marijuana under Connecticut state law. Very recently, it amended Connecticut’s employee free speech statute to, among other things, prohibit employers from convening what organized labor often refers to as “captive audience meetings” with employees to address unionization efforts. Also, effective January 1, 2022, many employees became eligible for Connecticut Paid Family and Medical Leave benefits, and the legislature amended the Connecticut Family and Medical Leave Act (CTFMLA) to apply to almost all private sector Connecticut employers.

Connecticut Poised to Ban ‘Captive Audience’ Meetings and Expand Employee Free Speech Protections

Recently, the Connecticut General Assembly sent Public Act No. 22-24 (Substitute Senate Bill No. 163), “An Act Protecting Employee Freedom of Speech and Conscience,” to Governor Ned Lamont’s desk for signature. If enacted, the law will amend Connecticut’s employee free speech statute, Conn. Gen. Stat. Section 31-51q, significantly limiting an employer’s ability to speak directly with its employees.

Connecticut Employees Entitled to 12 Weeks of State FMLA Leave as of January 1, 2022, Even If Leave Starts in 2021

The Connecticut Department of Labor (CTDOL) recently issued nonbinding guidance on amendments to the Connecticut Family and Medical Leave Act (CTFMLA) that will become effective January 1, 2022. The primary point of the guidance is to clarify the CTDOL’s position on eligible employee leave entitlements, when the leave commenced in 2021 continues into 2022.

Pay Equity in Connecticut: New Legislation Requires Disclosure of Salary Ranges

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.

Connecticut Enacts the CROWN Act Banning Discrimination Based on Ethnic Traits

On March 4, 2021, Governor Ned Lamont signed legislation prohibiting discrimination on the basis of ethnic traits historically associated with race. The CROWN Act (Bill No. 6515), also known as the “Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair” Act, amends the definition of race in the state’s anti-discrimination laws to be “inclusive of ethnic traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture and protective hairstyles.”

Connecticut Supreme Court Issues Landmark Favorable Ruling for Employers on Independent Contractor Status

In Standard Oil of Connecticut, Inc. v. Administrator, Unemployment Compensation Act, a case that will have significant implications for employers in Connecticut, the state’s supreme court clarified the “ABC Test,” finding that an employer is not required to pay unemployment contribution taxes for workers who contractually install heating and security systems in residential homes because they are independent contractors, not employees.