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).