January 1st is typically a time for new laws to kick in and 2019 is no exception.

For employers, the biggest change is one that I discussed way back in May with amendments to Connecticut’s Pay Equity law.

The new law prohibits employers from asking a job applicant his or her wage and salary history. But the prohibition does not apply in two situations:

  • if the prospective employee voluntarily discloses his or her wage and salary history, or;
  • to any actions taken by an employer, employment agency, or its employees or agents under a federal or state law that specifically authorizes the disclosure or verification of salary history for employment purposes.

While salary may not be inquired, the law DOES allow an employer to ask about the other elements of a prospective employee’s compensation structure (e.g., stock options), but the employer may not ask about their value.

The bill has a two year statute of limitations. Employers can be found liable for compensatory damages, attorney’s fees and costs, punitive damages, and any legal and equitable relief the court deems just and proper.  (This bill amends Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 31-40z if you’re looking for the pinpoint legal citations.)

Note that this ban on inquiries also applies to applications or other recruiting forms too. So, if your application asks for prior salary history, it’s time to eliminate that.  Employers should inform manager and other employees who conduct interviews about this requirement as well.

 

While the current outbreak of H1N1 Influenza is turning out (for now) to be less lethal than previously thought, the EEOC released guidance this week (available here) to help employers prepare for a possible pandemic and still comply with the ADA.

Some of the guidance is lifted from previous statements of the EEOC but applied to this situation. For example, the EEOC again reminds employers of the limits of making medical-related inquiries to employees:

Among other things, the ADA regulates when and how employers may require a medical examination or request disability-related information from applicants and employees, regardless of whether the individual has a disability. This requirement affects when and how employers may request health information from applicants and employees regarding H1N1 flu virus.

The EEOC also goes out of its way to emphasize that there are ways an employer can legally survey its workforce before a pandemic strikes to allow it to be prepared.  In fact, it provides a model survey for the employer to use.  

Lastly, the EEOC addresses infection control measures and states what should be obvious: "Requiring infection control practices, such as regular hand washing, coughing and sneezing etiquette, and tissue usage and disposal, does not implicate the ADA."

It’s a helpful reminder to employers that even in times of crisis, we remain a nation under the rule of law.  Let’s hope that this current outbreak wanes and that it does not reoccur in the fall in a more virulent form.