So in a post earlier on Friday, I recapped most of the employment law legislation that passed — except one. That bill, Senate Bill 446, was titled “AN ACT CONCERNING THE DEFINITION OF THE TERM “DOMESTIC WORKER”.
Innocuous enough, right?
But as it turns out, that bill was used as a cover to pass through significant changes to the CHRO process.
You will see that many of the changes are ones that I had tipped you all on earlier this year. Then back in April, we were told that the bill was “mostly dead”.
But like the Princess Bride, “Miracle Max” worked some magic and the bill came back from the dead during the session’s last week.
And there are so many changes that a separate blog post seemed like the best way to get through it all.
So let’s get to it, shall we?
Overall, the OLR summary of the bill recaps four main areas of change to the CHRO. It:
- shortens certain time frames for CHRO’s processing of complaints;
- allows the respondent (i.e., the alleged wrongdoer) to elect to participate in pre-answer conciliation;
- prohibits the same person from being assigned to conduct the mandatory mediation conference and investigate the complaint;
- transfers certain responsibilities from the CHRO executive director to the CHRO legal counsel.
But it also makes a significant change to the definition of who is an employee:
The bill also brings domestic workers who work for employers with at least three employees under the employment-related anti-discrimination laws administered by CHRO. Among other things, this provides them with (1) protections against employment-related discrimination based on their race, color, religion, age, sex, gender identity, marital status, national origin, ancestry, and mental or physical disability; (2) a right to a reasonable leave of absence for a disability resulting from a pregnancy and other pregnancy-related protections; and (3) protections against sexual harassment. By law, employees covered under the CHRO statutes can enforce their rights by filing a complaint with the commission.
If signed by the governor, the CHRO provisions will go into effect October 1, 2015, while the provisions on domestic workers will become effective January 1, 2016.
In more detail, the bill makes several changes to the CHRO process.
Responding to the Complaint