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Connecticut Employment Law Update

  • October 12, 2011

New and revised employment laws from the Connecticut legislature’s latest session will affect all employers in the state.  Here are some highlights...:

  • “Gender identity or expression” has been added as a protected characteristic under the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (“CFEPA”).  The CFEPA prohibits employers from making employment decisions or otherwise discriminating against employees based on protected characteristics.   Employers should review their equal employment opportunity policies, procedures and disclaimers in such documents as job applications to ensure “gender identity or expression” is covered either explicitly or as a protected classification.
  • The definition of “mental retardation” has been repealed from state statutes and replaced by the term “intellectual disability.”  This revision affects the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act, which has included “mental retardation” as a protected characteristic.  Employers should change any reference in policies, procedures or forms.                          
  • Health care employers are mandated to take action to prevent and respond to workplace violence.  They must establish and convene an ongoing workplace safety committee and conduct an annual work violence risk assessment.  In addition, before January 1, 2012, and annually thereafter, health care employers must work with the safety committee to implement a written workplace violence prevention and response plan based on the results of the risk assessment.  The law also imposes record keeping and reporting obligations.
  • Employers must provide paid sick leave beginning January 1, 2012, for certain service employees.  Employers should review and revise their paid time off policies and practices.  Compliance efforts should include the proper tracking of sick leave.  The Connecticut Department of Labor is expected to issue non-binding guidance, which may assist employers in considering any changes to their policies prior to January 1.

Jackson Lewis attorneys are available to provide additional information, answer questions, provide training and assist employers in their efforts to comply with the new laws.

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