Just wrapped up a trial so hoping to get these blog posts with a little more frequency.

On October 1, 2019, the new training requirements on sexual harassment prevention became effective. I’ve recapped them before here in my “Definitive Employer Guide to Connecticut’s New Anti-Sexual Harassment Law” post from June.

I noted then that all employers with three or more employees must train all of their employees by October 1, 2020 (or within six months of hire, after that time).

How is an employer going to do that at a minimal cost? Well, the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) was required to develop a free, online training course for employers.

That training is now live and is, in fact, free! You can access it here. I’ve taken a brief look through it and it’s set up with several different YouTube videos and some written materials as well.  While there is no substitute for in-person, classroom-style training, the CHRO version will likely be “good enough” for many many employers.

In the interim, if you want more information, my firm is putting on a half-day seminar this Friday.  One of our sessions is dedicated to addressing recent legal developments on sexual harassment in the workplace, including:

  • Reviewing all of the changes made by the Act
  • Evaluating whether an online program would be as effective as an in-person training for your workforce
  • Discussing strategies for maintaining a workplace free from harassment
  • Addressing recent court cases involving sexual harassment in the workplace

If you want more information, you can find the registration page here. (NOTE: Due to overwhelming demand, registration is now closed.)

 

Can an employer ever win a motion for summary judgment on a discrimination case in state court?

The prevailing wisdom is no.  A fool’s errand, some might say.

But a new Connecticut Appellate Court case (Alvarez v. City of Middletown) shows at least what’s possible.

The case has some details that stand out. The Plaintiff was a probationary police officer who was seeking a more permanent position. In the course of his employment, he had performance deficiencies that were noted. In February 2015, an individual made a complaint that the Plaintiff groped her and made her feel his genitals through his pants while he was responding to a reported domestic incident at her home.

While the investigation was ongoing, the Plaintiff’s performance still showed deficiencies including a failure to file written reports.  He was sent a letter that he would face a probationary discharge but he resigned before that happened.

The Plaintiff then sued on race and national origin.  Perhaps surprisingly, the employer filed for — and won — summary judgment. On appeal, the Plaintiff said that there were material issues of fact.  The Appellate Court disagreed.

First, the plaintiff argued that he was ‘‘not alone in his performance issues’’ and that the defendant ‘‘did not discipline other officers for the same issues.’’  But as the Appellate court noted, there was no evidence provided to substantiate that assertion. The court said that was needed.

Second, the plaintiff said that during his job interview, he was asked ‘‘if I had any side bitches or side girls or baby mama drama in Waterbury that he had to concern himself with because he didn’t want that type of issues in the police department.’’  The Appellate Court said that while it might be “tasteless” it didn’t have anything to do with his race or national origin.

Moreover, the court found that the “same actor” inference was appropriate because the person who asked the question, was the same person who hired him and was the same was who fired him.  ‘‘The premise underlying this inference is that if the person who fires an employee is the same person that hired him, one cannot logically impute to that person an invidious intent to discriminate against the employee.’’  Given the inference here, the court said summary judgment was appropriate.

While this isn’t the first Appellate Court to adopt the same actor inference, the use of the inference here should — if the lower court listens carefully — send a message that summary judgment is a viable mechanism for courts handling such cases.

But, to be a bit cynical, one case isn’t going to change prevailing wisdom. Or the courts.

And so, employers might be better served by viewing this case as an outlier — a nice exception to show that summary judgment might still be possible.

Rarely.

Has it really been a dozen years? Yes, it was 12 years ago today that I clicked “Publish” and put up my Welcome message to the Connecticut Employment Law Blog.

At the time, I was the first platform to discuss employment law issues with a focus on Connecticut. Now, it seems like every lawfirm has taken its newsletters and slapped a “blog” label on it and voila! Lots of employment law blogs.

What’s interesting about having a blog for so long though is that you really do start to build up a perspective that’s hard to see on the day-to-day frontlines.  My earlier posts had no mention of the impact that social media was having in the workplace because, well, it wasn’t having any.   Twitter had just launched the year before and no one was using smartphones to access the internet either.

And data privacy? Fight for $15? Paid FMLA? All concepts really in the 2010s.

It is pretty remarkable how much has shifted over time.  Heck, we’ve even had the ADA Amendments Act – which closed a big battle as to whether an individual had a disability or not.

Employment law blogs have also shifted over time. With so many outlets for distributing employment law information, most blogs now repeat the same information — creating more noise for clients to sort through. I’d argue that “old-school” blogs like this still have their relevance in breaking through that monotony.

So what’s next? It seems that data analytics and artificial intelligence are a new horizon in employment law.  Algorithms will be written suggesting which job candidates might be the best “fit” for your workplace. (Incidentally, I have a presentation on artificial intelligence in the workplace coming up in the next few weeks — details soon!).

Or employers will be able to continue to track the productivity of their employees at such a granular detail, that employers will have to decide how much “Big Brother” they really want to push.  Already, you have employers implanting microchips in employees.  What’s next?

The other big battle that seems to be brewing is over the “Gig” economy. Just this week, California is trying to convert independent contractors to employees by new legislation (and you have Uber pushing back).  This battle will come to the Connecticut statehouse at some point.

What’s that Ferris Bueller quote?

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

In any event, this is my yearly post to just say “thanks”.  It’s been a long journey and we’re not quite done just yet….

 

What makes an employee file a lawsuit? Or what makes an employee give an employer the benefit of the doubt?

I think about this question sometimes in the middle of lawsuits. I try to figure out what went wrong in the relationship between the employer and the employee.

After all, at some point, both thought that they were in for a long relationship together. Both had big hopes and dreams.

Somewhere the relationship went off track.

The answers as to what that happens are normally complicated; it’s typically a variety of things, sometimes small, that when taken together lead to a falling out.

I’m struck by those little details that people remember years later. The forgotten “thank you”.  Or the employer that remembers that the employee left early on a March Madness weekend before a big deal was supposed to close.

On the flip side, though, some employers escape such a fate often times by doing the little things that people remember in an employee’s (or employer’s) time of need.

An incident on September 11, 2001 highlights that for me and it’s a story I tell often.

On that date, I was on an early morning flight to Miami to cover a mediation the next day.  We landed safely and by late that morning, it was pretty apparent that the mediation was not happening and there would be no return flight home.

But I had already rented a car with Hertz for our mediation in Miami.  And my colleague and I began to think — what if we just drove back to Connecticut?

We tried calling Hertz at that point, but the number was busy.  And so we did what a lot of people did on that day – we just started driving.   And driving.

After stopping for a few hours sleep outside Beaufort, South Carolina that night, we finally made it back late the next day to Connecticut.

What exorbitant rate would Hertz charge? We didn’t really care, but when we pulled in, we figured that taking a Florida car for a one-way spin to Connecticut might set us back several hundreds of dollars.

Imagine, then, my surprise when I learned that Hertz was waiving all one-way fees. We were simply charged the daily rate we had contracted for.

The staff couldn’t have been more understanding and I’ve always remembered that gesture in staying as a loyal customer to Hertz for the following two decades.

I think about that gesture a lot and think about the dividends it paid in the future.

It’s the difference between doing what is “legal” or authorized, versus following the proverbial Golden Rule.

When employers ask lawyers for advice, we are pretty good at telling them what is “legal” or “authorized”.  But that shouldn’t end the discussion.  It’s also looking at the bigger picture.  Will some small gesture pay dividends down the road?

There is no right answer.

But understand that the saying from Mother Teresa has some power — “Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”

Yesterday, a group of workers at some of the travel plazas in Connecticut, along with members of Local 32BJ of SEIU, rallied to protest “wage theft” and call for unionization of the employees who work there, including fast-food workers.

The issues the group is raising — at least that have been reported by the press —  are two-fold: That the state’s “prevailing wage” law applies to them and, under that law, they ought to be paid the “fringe rate” attached to it.

This post will not answer those questions, which are best left to a court — or a client wanting to pay attorneys’ fees for a full legal analysis.

But this rally provides the perfect opportunity to recap the prevailing wage rule in the next installment of the Employment Law Checklist Project #emplawchecklist.

The state’s prevailing wage law can be found at Conn. Gen. Stat. Secs. 31-53 and 31-53a.  There are bunch of provisions (far too numerous) but the key language is as follows in section (a):

Each contract for the construction, remodeling, refinishing, refurbishing, rehabilitation, alteration or repair of any public works project by the state or agents…shall contain the following provision: “The wages paid on an hourly basis to any person performing the work of any mechanic, laborer or worker on the work herein contracted to be done and the amount of payment or contribution paid or payable on behalf of each such person to any employee welfare fund … shall be at a rate equal to the rate customary or prevailing for the same work in the same trade or occupation in the town in which such public works project is being constructed. Any contractor who is not obligated by agreement to make payment or contribution on behalf of such persons to any such employee welfare fund shall pay to each mechanic, laborer or worker as part of such person’s wages the amount of payment or contribution for such person’s classification on each pay day.”

Scope: As noted by the Connecticut Department of Labor on its helpful website “The law applies to each contract for the construction, remodeling, refinishing, refurbishing, rehabilitation, alteration or repair of any public works project by the State or its agents, or by any political subdivision of the State.”

Anything else? Yes, there are cash thresholds to be met too.  It does not apply where the total cost of all work to be performed by all contractors and subcontractors in connection with new construction of a public works project is under $1M and it does not apply in connection with remodeling, refinishing, refurbishing, rehabilitation, alteration or repair of any public works project under $100k.  It should be noted that sometimes, the parties to a contract can also indicate that compliance with prevailing wage law is a key component of the contract that might otherwise not fall within the scope of the law. Is that what will be argued for the travel plazas? That remains to be seen.

What’s Prohibited or Required?  A bunch of things, including payment requirements, certification requirements, record-keeping requirements, and more. But at its core, if the contract is covered, workers must be paid a base rate in accordance with what the DOL has established in that particular town for that particular work.  And workers also need to be given a fringe benefit rate which may be paid in cash or benefits.

For example, let’s say a company has a contract to build a $10M publicly-financed office building in New Fairfield.  Jackhammer operators on that project would be entitled to a prevailing wage of $31.25/hour plus a fringe benefit rate of $20.84 according to the 2019 prevailing wage chart issued by the CTDOL.

Private Right of Action or Other Penalty Allowed? There are various civil, criminal and administrative penalties for violations of the prevailing wage law.  Again, the CTDOL has a good summary: “Failure to pay the prevailing rate is a crime which may be a felony depending upon the amount of unpaid wages.  Knowingly filing a false certified payroll or failure to file a certified payroll is a Class D felony for which an employer may be fined up to five thousand dollars, imprisoned for up to five years, or both.  Disregarding obligations under Conn. Gen. Stat. Section 31-53 may result in an administrative debarment which may preclude any firm, corporation, partnership or association in which such person or firms have an interest from receiving an award of a contract until a period of up to three years have elapsed.  Additionally, civil penalties of $300 per violation of law may also be assessed upon the employer.”

Any Practical Steps Employers Can Take? If your work involves the state of Connecticut and you are anywhere close to doing construction or rehab or the like, be sure to consult with legal counsel; prevailing wage laws are notoriously challenging to comply with and add a level of complexity unlike anything else in employment law.  And don’t forget there is a federal counterpart to this — the Davis-Bacon Act.

Any Other Interesting Information or Background? Prevailing wage laws get changed a bunch to meet various circumstances. How so? Look at Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 31-53(h)(2).  It says that the prevailing wage law does not apply to work on a public works project “funded in whole or in part by any private bequest that is greater than nine million dollars but less than twelve million dollars for a municipality in New Haven County with a population of not less than twelve thousand and not more than thirteen thousand…”

Huh? This came about during the special session of the legislature in 2017 and was buried in Section 567.  If you’re curious, only Oxford or Derby have between 12-13k in population.  If anyone knows exactly what this particular project is, let me know.

But for employers, it’s always worth reading the fine print.

In a few weeks, the Connecticut Supreme Court will begin it’s next session.  As I looked at the calendar assignment for the first term, what I began to realize is something that’s been gnawing at me for a while — there’s not an employment law case to be found on the docket.

Then I started to look back at last year’s session (2018-2019).  Term after term. Where were the employment law cases? Unless I missed something, there wasn’t an employment law case to be found anywhere on last year’s case docket.  (The only two that were even in the same neighborhood concerned a procedural requirement of the Municipal Employee Indemnification Statute, and a Labor Arbitration issue.)

In fact, I had to go back to the summer of 2017 to find the last major employment law case that the Connecticut Supreme Court considered.  That case — on the fluctuating workweek — at least gave us some guidance on a thorny wage & hour issue even if very few employers actually use that method of calculating overtime.

But the stream of cases that we used to get from the Connecticut Supreme Court seems to have dried up for now.

The big questions, then, are why have there been no cases and will this continue?

As to why, the answers are not self-evident.  If I had to guess, there are probably a variety of factors in play including: a decent economy, the increasing cost of cases that don’t have a “bet the farm” need to them, employment practices liability insurance (and the insurance companies’ reluctance to risk), settlements, the rise of mandatory arbitrations and a bit of chance.

All those factors help answer the second question as to whether this will continue? That’s a bit harder to predict but all of the above trends that have been in place for the last two years (except, perhaps, a decent economy) are all long-term plays. Arbitration agreements are, no doubt, taking away some of the cases that would otherwise see their way to courts.  Moreover, class action waivers are removing some of the big ticket cases from the court system too.

Add to that the continued legs of the #metoo movement — and companies’ aversion to adverse publicity as a result of any sexual harassment claims — and you still have a recipe for less cases at the state’s highest court.

Of course, trends like this are easily reversed — a few cases could bubble up this year and the trend will be popped. But overall, it’s been pretty quiet.

For employers, there are a few takeaways from this.

First, it’s unlikely we’ll get judicial resolution of some of the issues that remain a bit unsettled in the employment law area.  Companies will have to take calculated risks in some of those areas of confusion.  Second, if you haven’t been involved in litigation in the last ten years, you should understand that the ground has shifted; cases are more expensive than ever with items such as electronic discovery picking up steam.  That makes the incentive to settle for business reasons strong.

Lastly, if you have insurance, understand that the insurance company may ultimately want to settle for the cost of litigation and avoid an uncertain and costly appeal. That decision — however unpopular it is with employment law attorneys — may decide the fate of more cases than you realize.

 

It’s been a long while since this blog went into the toilet.  But in this Employment Law Checklist Project, there are two employment laws we need to tackle together that highlight the very specific nature of some laws and how they remain on the books.

Yes, I’m talking about the two employment laws that require toilets in two industries.

The first of these is Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 31-36. It provides that:

The commissioner shall have authority by order to that effect to require the proprietor of any foundry in which ten or more persons are employed, situated in a locality where there is such system for the disposal of sewage as to make such order practicable, to provide for the use of such employees a toilet room of such suitable dimensions as said commissioner determines, containing washbowls or sinks connected with running water, with facilities for heating the same, such room to be directly connected with such foundry building, properly heated, ventilated and protected from the dust of such foundry. Any person, company or corporation failing to comply with such order shall be fined not more than fifty dollars.

Not to be outdone, Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 31-38 provides:

Any person, firm or corporation employing twenty-five or more laborers on a tobacco plantation, which fails to provide adequate toilet accommodations for such employees, so arranged as to secure reasonable privacy for both sexes of such employees, shall be fined not less than twenty dollars nor more than one hundred dollars.

Let’s dig deeper into each of them to add to our checklist.

Scope: Foundries with ten or more employees that are situated in localities where it’s practical to have a toilet room. And employers that have 25 or more workers on a “tobacco plantation”.

Um, what’s a foundry? Glad you asked! A foundry is basically a workshop or factory for casting metal. 

And do we still have “plantations” in Connecticut? Well, that’s a bit of a question mark.  Connecticut’s tobacco industry has definitely shrunk over the past years. It’s just a tenth of the size it was a century ago with just 2000 acres being farmed today. None of them are called “plantations” and none seem to have resident labor of 25 or more employees.

What’s Prohibited or Required?  For foundries, the DOL Commissioner has the authority to order a foundry owner to provide a toilet room. No regulations have been promulgated on this. And if there is such an order, I haven’t found it nor has Google. More on what this means, in a minute.  If you are a covered tobacco employer (anyone? anyone?), you have to provide “adequate toilet accommodations”.  What’s adequate? Your guess is as good as mine but probably one of these examples. 

Private Right of Action or Other Penalty Allowed? No private right of action by an individual is established.  For foundries, if the CTDOL orders you to provide a toilet room AND you fail to comply, you could be fined $50. For companies running “tobacco plantations”, the CTDOL can presumably fine the companies between $20-100.  (The law was passed in 1949 where $20 is the equivalent today of $215 and $100 is the equivalent of $1078, in case you’re curious.)

What May Be Recovered? Likely only the fines that may be imposed by the Department of Labor. And only for those covered “tobacco plantations”.

Any Practical Steps Employers Can Take? For 99.9 percent of employers in Connecticut, these laws don’t apply to you. And for foundries, you have to be ordered by the DOL first before the requirements kick in.  But practically speaking, I think we can all agree that it’s preferable to have toilets for your employees.

Any Other Interesting Information or Background? Why just foundries and tobacco plantations, you ask? Well, as it turns out, Sec. 31-37 used to cover “manufacturing, mechanical and mercantile establishments and restaurants” but that law has long since been repealed.

Ultimately, these laws fall within the sphere of laws that have seem to have long outlived their particular usefulness or utility and yet employers who technically want to comply with each and every law out there, need to be aware of.

And for those that argue that we should have a law requiring toilets, I merely ask — Sure, but why just foundries or tobacco plantations?

#emplawchecklist

 

One of the quirks of discrimination law in Connecticut concerns sexual orientation.  Back in 1991, the General Assembly passed a wide-ranging bill that added sexual orientation as one of the protected classes that employers could not base decisions on.

Sort of.

Rather than add sexual orientation to the key employment law statute that bars discrimination in employment, it created it’s own separate law.  While there may have been reasons for such a distinction nearly 30 years ago, it still a bit strange that we still do it this way. Notably, civil unions are still covered here even though same-sex marriages are now legal.

So on to the next law in our Employment Law Checklist Project (#emplawchecklist).  You can find this one at Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 46a-81c (and related statutes.)  It states, in its relevant part:

It shall be a discriminatory practice in violation of this section: (1) For an employer, by himself or his agent, except in the case of a bona fide occupational qualification or need, to refuse to hire or employ or to bar or to discharge from employment any individual or to discriminate against him in compensation or in terms, conditions or privileges of employment because of the individual’s sexual orientation or civil union status, or (4) for any person, employer, employment agency or labor organization, except in the case of a bona fide occupational qualification or need, to advertise employment opportunities in such a manner as to restrict such employment so as to discriminate against individuals because of their sexual orientation or civil union status.

Scope: You’ll actually find that in Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 46a-51, which defines an employer as “(the state and all political subdivisions thereof and means any person or employer with three or more persons in such person’s or employer’s employ”.  For private employers, this three or more employee rule is fairly common in discrimination law.

Are any employers excluded? Yes! You just have to find it in still another section. Conn. Gen. Stat. 46a-81p says the rules do not apply to “religious corporation, entity, association, educational institution or society with respect to the employment of individuals to perform work connected with the carrying on by such corporation, entity, association, educational institution or society of its activities, or with respect to matters of discipline, faith, internal organization or ecclesiastical rule, custom or law which are established by such corporation, entity, association, educational institution or society.”  Oh, and ROTC programs are also excluded.

What is “sexual orientation”? As defined by statute, it means: ““sexual orientation” means having a “preference for heterosexuality, homosexuality or bisexuality, having a history of such preference or being identified with such preference, but excludes any behavior which constitutes a violation of part VI of chapter 952.”

Uh, so what’s a violation of part VI of chapter 952? That would be the state’s penal code. You know, things like murder, rape, telephone fraud, unlawfully using slugs, etc.

What’s Prohibited or Required? The usual for discrimination cases — don’t do it.

Private Right of Action or Other Penalty Allowed? Yes, and with the revisions to state law, expanded time to file etc. 

What May Be Recovered? It has typically depended on where the complaint is litigated — at the CHRO or in court. Recently, as I recapped, there have been changes to let Human Rights Referees have more ability to fashion a broader remedy. Moreover, punitive damages may now be allowed. In short, discrimination cases have gotten more expensive.

Any Practical Steps Employers Can Take? Make sure your policy is updated to include sexual orientation among the protected classes.  And if you think you may be a “religious corporation”, be sure to consult with an attorney about the application.

Any Other Interesting Information or Background? Last week, the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, proposed regulations on the scope of the religious exemption contained in section 204(c) of Executive Order 11246 for federal contractors.  The proposal seeks to expand section 204(c) to allow religious organizations with federal contracts to “make employment decisions consistent with their sincerely held religious tenets and beliefs without fear of sanction by the federal government.”  But this definition of a religious organization may not be the same as Connecticut has defined it; employers should tread carefully in this area.

One of the reasons I’m working on this project is to highlight the mandates and requirements that employers in the state need to follow. Some can lead to possible litigation; some can lead to, well, something less.

Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 31-51jj is an example of the something less. The key language of the provision is as follows:

An employer shall notify an employee of an incoming emergency telephone call for the employee if the caller states that the emergency involves a member of the employee’s family or  a person designated by the employee in accordance with Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 1-56r [typically someone with the power to make decisions, like healthcare, over another.] It shall not be a violation of this section if the employer proves, by a preponderance of the evidence, that he or she made reasonable efforts to notify the employee of the emergency telephone call.  The failure of an employer to comply with any provision of this section shall be an infraction.

Scope: None provided in the statute itself.  Presumably, then, all employers, including the state.

What’s Prohibited or Required?  Upon receipt of an telephone call where the caller says there an “emergency!”, you must notify the employee of the emergency.

What’s an “Emergency”?  As defined in the statute, an emergency means “a situation in which a member of the employee’s family has died, experienced a serious physical injury or is ill and in need of medical attention.”

Private Right of Action or Other Penalty Allowed? No private right of action by an individual. It’s just an “infraction”.   But note that Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 31-69a does allow the Connecticut Department of Labor to seek penalties for violations of the rules of Chapter 557, which is where you’ll find Conn. Gen. Stat. 31-51jj. The Attorney General can then institute a civil action to recover such penalties.

What the Heck is an “Infraction” Anyways? According to the Judicial Branch website: An infraction is a breach of a state law, regulation or local ordinance
that is identified as an infraction by the Legislature. A person who is charged with an infraction is usually not required to go to court. Payment of the total amount due by mail, in person, or on-line is authorized by section 51-164n of the Connecticut General Statutes. An “infraction” is not a crime and it is not an offense as defined in the criminal laws of Connecticut. There is no right to a trial by jury for infractions cases.

What May Be Recovered? Likely only the penalties that may be imposed by the Department of Labor.

Any Practical Steps Employers Can Take? If your office gets a call that says that an employee’s immediate family member has died, let the employee know. In other words, act with common sense and the Golden Rule.

Any Other Interesting Information or Background? The law was amended in 2002 as part of a larger series of reforms regarding what happens if an individual dies. Also note: the Connecticut Department of Labor lists some statutes like this on its website but unfortunately, has the older version of the statute of its website.  And finally, the law only covers telephone calls. Get an emergency text or e-mail? Not covered but honestly, just let the employee know.

In my new series (you can read the background here), I’m going to highlight an employment law that employers in Connecticut need to follow. Some of them can lead to lawsuits; some may just lead to fines.   I’ve titled this the “Employment Law Checklist Project”.

First up: Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 31-40h.  This law states:

No employer, including the state or any political subdivision thereof, shall condition the employment, transfer or promotion of any individual on the sterilization of such individual.

What we’ll start to see from looking at these laws is that the definition of an employer can sometimes change and there are differences in the type of recovery that can be sought for violations.

Scope: All employers, including the state. No limit on number of employees and there is no specific definition of employer here.  Contrast that with Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 31-40j (which follows this law), and you’ll find an actual definition of “employer” — but it doesn’t cover this particular section.

What’s Prohibited or Required: Here, the law prohibits an employer from conditioning employment, transfer or promotions on sterilization. In other words, an employer should not say that “You can get this promotion to Vice President, but first we want to get a vasectomy.”

Private Right of Action or Other Penalty Allowed? Yes. Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 31-40i allows for a private right of action in state court.

What May Be Recovered? Damages generally, but may also recover attorney’s fees and costs.

Any Practical Steps Employers Can Take? You mean, beyond the “Don’t require your employees to be sterilized”? No.  And you probably don’t need a policy or training about this. It’s pretty arcane.

Any other interesting background? Notably, Westlaw doesn’t report a single case under this statute since it became effective in 1982.  While there is a reference or two to it’s existence, no courts have published any reported opinions on this (beyond one isolated reference to its existence).