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September 2022: Connecticut Expands Antidiscrimination Protections

27 Sep


Update Applicable to:
All employers in the state of Connecticut.

What happened?
Connecticut has amended its human rights law to broaden coverage to all employers—regardless of employee count—and to add domestic violence protections. The changes take effect on October 1, 2022.

What are the details?

Antidiscrimination Protections
The Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (CFEPA), part of the state’s human rights law, has been expanded to cover all employers instead of those with three or more employees. In broad terms, CFEPA prohibits employment discrimination based on protected characteristics, such as disability, marital status, and race. The list of protected characteristics now includes status as a victim of domestic violence.

Note that CFEPA also requires employers to provide pregnancy-related accommodations unless the accommodation would cause an undue hardship. As with the discrimination provisions, the accommodation requirement now applies to all employers regardless of size.

Employers newly subject to CFEPA will need to display the “Discrimination is Illegal” poster and the pregnancy discrimination poster.

Domestic Violence Leave
CFEPA now requires employers to provide domestic violence leave for a “reasonable” time, though the law doesn’t define “reasonable.” This leave requirement applies to all employers regardless of size.

Employees can take leave to:

  • Seek treatment for themselves or their child for injuries from domestic violence.
  • Obtain services from a domestic violence agency or rape crisis center.
  • Obtain counseling for domestic violence, including for their child who is a victim of domestic violence.
  • Relocate or take other action to increase their safety from future domestic violence.
  • Participate in legal proceedings related to domestic violence.

Notably, the law broadly defines domestic violence as non-physical acts, such as stalking and coercive control.

Employers can require the employee to provide reasonable documentation to confirm their leave needs. Employers must keep information about the employee’s domestic violence confidential unless required by law or authorized to release it.

Note that Connecticut already has a law that requires employers with three or more employees to provide up to 12 days of leave per year to employees who are victims of family violence. If you have three or more employees, family violence leave can run concurrently with domestic violence leave if the employee’s need for leave qualifies for both. However, a “reasonable” leave for domestic violence could extend beyond the 12-day cap on leave for family violence.

For more information, please see the links below:

Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) Webpage

Connecticut Department of Labor

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links provided above and ensure that their equal employment policy includes status as a victim of domestic violence.

Need help understanding how changes to employment laws will affect your business?

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This communication is intended solely for the purpose of conveying information. The present post might incorporate hyperlinks directing readers to websites managed by third-party entities. The inclusion of any links within this communication is meant to serve as points of reference and could encompass opinion articles from various law firms, articles from HR associations, official websites, news releases, and documents of government agencies, and other relevant third-party sources. Vensure has no authority over these external websites and bears no responsibility for their content. Furthermore, Vensure does not endorse the materials present on these websites. The contents of this communication should not be interpreted as legal advice or as a legal standpoint concerning specific facts or scenarios. Nor should it be deemed an exhaustive compilation of facts potentially pertinent to federal, state, or local laws. It is strongly advised that employers solicit legal guidance from an employment attorney when undertaking actions in response to any legal updates provided. This is due to the possibility of future alterations occurring in federal, state, and local laws, regulations, as well as the directives and guidelines issued by governing agencies. These changes may transpire at any given time, potentially rendering certain portions of the content within this update void or inaccurate.

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