Two proposals that will make it harder to do business and create jobs in Connecticut were approved by the Judiciary Committee this week.

Double damages

SB 798 requires employers to pay double the amount of damages to an employee in a civil action to recover unpaid wages. (Approved by a 22-16 vote.)

Employers will face steeply higher costs from the mandated double damages along with drastically increased expenses for protracted litigation. SB 798 is likely to lead to large, costly class action lawsuits.

In Connecticut, judges already have the discretion to award double damages in cases if the judge determines an employer acted in bad faith. SB 798 will undermine that due-process system process by taking judges’ discretion out of their hands.

Captive audience

HB 5460 restricts what employers can talk about with their employees at required company meetings. It specifically prohibits employers, in required staff meetings, from expressing their views on matters deemed “political.” (Approved by a 22-14 vote.)

"Political," however, is defined by a laundry list of activities ranging from actual politics and political party affiliation to the decision to join any political, social, community or labor organization activity.  

Such a broad definition will block any open workplace talk about wages, healthcare and employee benefits and other terms and conditions of employment, including labor-union organizing.

These are the bread-and-butter issues that employees are most worried about and want to know about. 

CBIA encourages state lawmakers to reject these proposals that will make it harder for businesses to compete and create jobs in Connecticut.

For more information, contact CBIA’s Kia Murrell at 860.244.1931 or kia.murrell@cbia.com.