As I get closer to the five year anniversary of this blog next month, I continue to take a look again at topics I covered early on. One of those topics was the oft-overlooked statute of Conn. Gen. Stat. 53-303e. That statute purports to make it a crime for employers to require employees to work on his or her designated Sabbath, among other things.
I noted back then that you could find the statute on the Connecticut Department of Labor’s website.
But there was a problem, I noted. Part of the statute was been overruled by the Connecticut Supreme Court nearly 25 years ago. So effectively the statute is devoid of meaning. Of course, I said, you wouldn’t know that from the statute.
So what’s changed since then? Amazingly, nothing. It remains firmly on the books of the Connecticut state statutes. You can be fined $200 for each violation. And confusingly, the Connecticut Department of Labor still lists it among the statutes that employers need to follow closely.
What should be done? The General Assembly each year “cleans up” old statutes with bills that are technical in nature. When it considers the labor & employment side of things, hopefully the legislature can remove the portion of the statute that has been overruled. Frankly, the entire statute is just out of place as well, but that’s an issue for another day.
Will it happen? Probably not. As I’ve noted before, once a law is on the books, it’s hard to remove. This statute — 25 years after a portion has been overruled — remains a shining example of this. So, for employers, it’s important to note that you can’t believe everything you read — even if it appears on a government website.