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