A workplace proposal from Governor Malloy that could cause tremendous disruption for Connecticut employers is quietly proceeding through the legislative process.
HB 6850 prohibits employers from creating any workplace rules regarding an employee's disclosure of his or her wages. Employers also may not seek to prevent discussions between employees about wages.
Under the proposal, any employer attempting to discipline an employee engaging in this conduct could find itself in court and paying damages to the employee.
Called “An Act Concerning Pay Equity and Fairness,” the bill is being promoted under the notion that more transparency in the workplace about wages will help eliminate the gender pay gap.
The reality, however, is that HB 6850 will do little to address any real or perceived pay gap between men and women. Instead, it will create the possibility for serious problems in the workplace regardless of an individual’s gender.
For example, the bill:
- Prohibits employers from disciplining an employee who improperly accesses and distributes employee wage information to the entire workplace
- Blocks employers from taking action against an employee who repeatedly asks his or her coworkers, in an unwelcomed way, to compare wages
- Creates the possibility that any HR staff with access to employee wage information can talk freely about that information in the workplace
Despite its title, HB 6850 does nothing to promote pay equity. Yet it could create severe workplace morale issues and unfairly put Connecticut’s job creators at risk for new penalties.