Last week I talked about the new state law regarding pregnancy discrimination that is going into effect on October 1, 2017. In that post, I mentioned a new notice that was required to comply with the law.
Although there is no set form that is required to be used, the Connecticut Department of Labor has created one that is available for employers to use that will comply with the state law. It is free to download here.
Because the content is useful, I’m using it down below so that employers can cut and paste it into a handbook or into a notice to be given to employee upon starting work too. One can quibble with some of the word phrasings that are used, but overall — and stating the obvious — if you use this, you’ll be in compliance according to the state.
Each employer with more than 3 employees must comply with these anti-discrimination and reasonable accommodation laws related to an employee or job applicant’s pregnancy, childbirth or related conditions, including lactation.
Prohibition of Discrimination
No employer may discriminate against an employee or job applicant because of her pregnancy, childbirth or other related conditions (e.g., breastfeeding or expressing milk at work).
Prohibited discriminatory conduct includes:
- Terminating employment because of pregnancy, childbirth or related condition
- Denying reasonable leave of absence for disability due to pregnancy (e.g., doctor prescribed bed rest during 6-8 week recovery period after birth)*
- Denying disability or leave benefits accrued under plans maintained by the employer
- Failing to reinstate employee to original job or equivalent position after leave
- Limiting, segregating or classifying the employee in a way that would deprive her of employment opportunities
- Discriminating against her in the terms or conditions of employment
*Note: There is no requirement that the employee be employed for a certain length of time prior to being granted job protected leave of absence under this law.
An employer must provide a reasonable accommodation to an Employee or job applicant due to her pregnancy, childbirth or needing to breastfeed or express milk at work.
Reasonable accommodations include, but are not limited to:
- Being permitted to sit while working
- More frequent or longer breaks
- Periodic rest
- Assistance with manual labor
- Job restructuring
- Light duty assignments
- Modified work schedules
- Temporary transfers to less strenuous or less hazardous work
- Time off to recover from childbirth (prescribed by a Doctor, typically 6-8 weeks)
- Break time and appropriate facilities (not a bathroom) for expressing milk
Denial of Reasonable Accommodation
No employer may discriminate against employee or job applicant by denying a reasonable accommodation due to pregnancy.
Prohibited discriminatory conduct includes:
- Failing to make reasonable accommodation (and is not an undue hardship)**
- Denying job opportunities to employee or job applicant because of request for reasonable accommodation
- Forcing employee or job applicant to accept a reasonable accommodation when she has no known limitation related to pregnancy or the accommodation is not required to perform the essential duties of job
- Requiring employee to take a leave of absence where a reasonable accommodation could have been made instead
** Note: To demonstrate an undue hardship, the employer must show that the accommodation would require a significant difficulty or expense in light of its circumstances.
Prohibition of Retaliation
Employers are prohibited from retaliating against an employee because of a request for reasonable accommodation.
Employers must post and provide this notice to all existing employees by January 28,2018; to an existing employee within 10 days after she notifies the employer of her pregnancy or related conditions; and to new employees upon commencing employment.
Any employee aggrieved by a violation of these statutes may file a complaint with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO). Complainants have 180 days from the date of the alleged act of discrimination, or from the time that you reasonably became aware of the discrimination, in which to file a complaint. It is illegal for anyone to retaliate against you for filing a complaint. CHRO main number: 860-541-3400 CHRO website: www.ct.gov/chro/site/default.asp CHRO link “How to File a Discrimination Complaint”: http://www.ct.gov/chro/taxonomy/v4_taxonomy.asp? DLN=45570&chroNav=|45570|
Additionally, women who are denied the right to breastfeed or express milk at work, or are discriminated or retaliated against for doing so, may also file a complaint with the Connecticut Department of Labor (DOL). DOL phone number: 860-263-6791 DOL complaint form: For English: http://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/wgwkstnd/forms/DOL-80%20fillable.doc For Spanish: http://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/wgwkstnd/forms/DOL-80S%20fillable-Spa.doc