Legislation prohibiting all Connecticut employers from asking job applicants about their wage history has received unanimous support from a key General Assembly committee.

Both SB 15 and HB 5386 target gender-based pay disparities. The Labor and Public Employees Committee approved both March 21, sending them to the state Senate and state House.

The measures bar employers from asking about an applicant's salary history prior to making a job offer, unless the candidate voluntarily discloses that information.

The bills also prevent employers from:

  • Prohibiting employees from disclosing or discussing their wages or the wages of another employee that were disclosed voluntarily by the employee
  • Prohibiting an employee from inquiring about the wages of another employee
  • Requiring employees to sign a waiver or other document denying the employee the right to disclose or discuss the amount of their wages or the wages of another employee that were disclosed voluntarily by the employee
  • Requiring an employee to sign a waiver or other document denying the employee the right to inquire about the wages of another employee

Punitive, Compensatory Damages

Employers who violate those provisions may be liable to court action with the potential for punitive and compensatory damages.

HB 5386 also includes provisions that protect the seniority of employees on medical leave.

It also provides several complex affirmative defenses to employers for gender-based discrimination claims that may prove to be too difficult to be practically useful.

Both bills carry an effective date of Oct. 1, 2018.

CBIA asked lawmakers to delay that effective date by one year, noting that as the bills represent major changes to hiring and workplace practices, additional time is needed for employers to implement the new requirements.

While both bills face potential revisions, the proposals have broad support from lawmakers.