On Tuesday, Governor Malloy signed into law a bill amending Connecticut’s Act Concerning Pay Equity so that, with limited exceptions, Connecticut employers will no longer be allowed to inquire about an applicant’s wage and salary history. Following the trend set by states that have enacted pay equity measures, including Massachusetts, Connecticut’s pay equity law imposes a number of restrictions on employers.

Beginning January 1, 2019, Connecticut employers with one or more employees (practically speaking, all Connecticut employers) will be prohibited from inquiring, either directly or through a third party, about a prospective employee’s wage and salary history. The prospective employee may voluntarily disclose its wage or salary history, however.

The salary history inquiry prohibition does have two important exceptions. First, it does not prohibit employers from taking an employment action under a federal or state law that specifically authorizes disclosing or verifying salary history for employment purposes. Second, the Act allows inquiries about compensation structure, as long as the employer does not inquire about the value of specific elements of the compensation structure (for example, stock options).

It bears noting that the Act already imposes several restrictions on employers with the goal of safeguarding pay equity. For example, employers cannot prohibit employees from disclosing or discussing their wages or another employee’s wages that have been disclosed voluntarily. Employers also cannot prohibit employers from inquiring about another employee’s wages, or require an employee waive these rights.

An employer that violates the Act could be liable for compensatory damages, attorneys’ fees and costs, punitive damages, and other equitable relief deemed proper by a court. There is a two-year statute of limitations to file a claim under the Act.

Employers are encouraged to review their employment applications to ensure that the applications do not inquire about prospective employees’ salary or wage history. Employers should also advise any employees with hiring responsibilities of the new salary inquiry restrictions. Employers with questions concerning the scope of Connecticut’s Act Concerning Pay Equity should consult with counsel.

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Photo of Matthew K. Curtin Matthew K. Curtin

Matthew Curtin is a Partner in the Litigation Department, the Chair of the Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice Group and a member of the Labor and Employment Practice Group.

In Matthew’s cybersecurity practice, he advises clients on compliance with state, federal and international privacy laws including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Matthew is particularly interested in advising his clients concerning employment privacy matters. Matthew is a member of the International Association of Privacy Professionals.

In Matthew’s labor and employment practice, he has successfully represented employers of all sizes concerning a wide variety of claims before state and federal courts, the National Labor Relations Board, the Connecticut State Board of Mediation and Arbitration, the Connecticut State Board of Labor Relations, the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, and other various administrative agencies.

Matthew has substantial experience with collective bargaining negotiations, labor arbitrations, and labor relations. He regularly counsels senior management and human resources professionals concerning employment contracts, employment policies, hiring and termination procedures, workplace investigations, and harassment and discrimination avoidance.

Matthew has significant experience representing businesses in litigation concerning trade secret theft, unfair competition, and breach of non-competition and non-solicitation agreements.

 

 

Photo of Madiha M. Malik Madiha M. Malik

Madiha Malik is an Associate in the firm’s Litigation Department.  She represents a wide range of clients on issues related to labor and employment law.

Madiha has represented clients including health care facilities, independent schools, and various public and private employers. She has experience defending clients against claims of employment discrimination, harassment, retaliation, reasonable accommodation, family and medical leave issues, and wage and hour violations, under state and federal laws.  Madiha represents clients before federal and state courts and administrative bodies including the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities and U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.  In addition, Madiha regularly provides training seminars for a wide variety of clients on topics including harassment prevention in the workplace and workplace investigations.

Madiha earned her B.A. from the George Washington University where she received degrees in Journalism and International Affairs.  Before attending law school, Madiha worked for a financial services law firm in Washington, D.C.  Madiha earned her J.D. from the University of Connecticut School of Law.  During law school, Madiha served as a Law Clerk at the U.S. Department of Justice Federal Tort Claims Act Section and held an externship at the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut in the Civil Division.

Madiha was an Editor for the Connecticut Law Review and authored a published Note titled, “The Legal Void of Unpaid Internships: Navigating the Legality of Internships in the Face of Conflicting Tests Interpreting the FLSA.”

Madiha serves on the Executive Committee for the Connecticut Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section.  Madiha is passionate about community service and serves as a Youth Mentor for the Klingberg Family Centers and a Law Student Mentor for the Lawyer’s Collaborative for Diversity.