Changes to the Fair Employment Act take effect October 1 » CBIA

The following article was provided by Berchem Moses PC. It is published here with permission.

The 2022 legislative session resulted in several significant changes to Connecticut’s anti-discrimination law that will impact employers and take effect October 1, 2022.

As a reminder, the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act prohibits discrimination and harassment in employment because of “race, color, religious beliefs, age, sex, gender identity or expression, marital status, national origin, ancestry, present or past history of mental disorders”. disability, intellectual disability, learning disability, physical disability, including but not limited to blindness or veteran status,” and prohibits retaliation against an employee for engaging in protected activities as defined by law.

Domestic violence

The CFEPA was amended under Public Law 22-82 to add the status of victim of domestic violence as a protected class, also prohibiting discrimination against such persons.

The law amends the CFEPA to prohibit employers from denying an employee “reasonable leave” as an accommodation to seek care for injuries caused by domestic violence or to obtain domestic violence-related services, so long as the employee absence does not cause undue hardship. difficulties for the employer.

However, the law allows employers to ask employees for specific supporting documents to demonstrate the need for the leave.

The law allows employers to ask employees for specific supporting documents to demonstrate the need for the leave.

Further away, “[t]o To the extent permitted by law, employers must maintain the confidentiality of any information regarding an employee’s status as a victim of domestic violence.

The law does not specify how this provision will interact with Connecticut General Statute § 31-51ss, which provides 12 days of leave for reasons related to domestic violence.

The law also requires that each state agency (but not private/municipal employers) “provide at least one hour of training and education related to domestic violence and resources available to victims of domestic violence,” to employees. hired before January 1, 2023, no later than July 1, 2023, and to employees hired on or after January 1, 2023, within six months of their start date.

The law identifies training and education requirements, which can be accomplished using materials to be developed by the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunity.

Coverage of very small employers

In addition, the law expands CFEPA coverage by changing the definition of employer to now include all employers with one or more employees.

Previously, to be a covered employer under the CFEPA, an employer had to have three or more employees.

People with a household employee, such as a nanny, might be surprised to learn that they will now be subject to many CFEPA requirements.

Coverage of elected and appointed officials

Finally, the act amends the definition of employee under the CFPOA to now include “any elected or appointed representative of a municipality, board, commission, lawyer or other government agency “.

These individuals will now be required to complete mandatory training under the law and may be entitled to time off or other reasonable accommodations not generally required for non-employees.

Employers should be aware of these changes and update their policies accordingly.

Additionally, state agencies should have a plan in place to prepare for domestic violence training requirements.

About the Author: Paul Teste is a Senior Counsel in Berchem Moses PC’s Labor and Employment Practice Group. He has been practicing labor and employment law in Connecticut since 2007. Berchem Moses PC labor and employment attorneys can help employers update their policies to comply with CFEPA changes.

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