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May 2022: Connecticut Enacts Consumer Privacy Law

Update Applicable to:
All businesses that collect personal data of customers in the state of Connecticut

What happened?
On May 10, 2022, Connecticut Governor Lamont signed Public Act No. 22-15, also known as the Connecticut Data Privacy Act (CTDPA), into law.

What are the details?
Effective July 1, 2023, the CTDPA will apply to individuals and entities that:

  1. Conduct business in Connecticut, or produce products or services that are targeted to Connecticut residents; and
  2. During the preceding calendar year, either:
    1. controlled or processed the personal data of at least 100,000 consumers (excluding for the purpose of completing a payment transaction), or
    1. controlled or processed the personal data of at least 25,000 consumers and derived more than 25% of their gross revenue from the sale of personal data.

The CTDPA exempts certain entities, including, for example, state and local government entities, nonprofits, higher education institutions, financial institutions subject to the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, and qualifying covered entities and business associates subject to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

The CTDPA’s protections apply only to Connecticut residents acting in an individual capacity (i.e., “consumers”), and do not apply to individuals acting in an employment or commercial (B2B) context. Under the CTDPA, consumers will have the right to:

  • confirm whether or not a controller is processing the consumer’s personal data and access to such personal data;
  • correct inaccuracies in the consumer’s personal data;
  • delete personal data provided by, or obtained about, the consumer;
  • obtain a copy of the consumer’s personal data processed by a controller, in a portable and, to the extent technically feasible, readily usable format; and
  • opt-out of the processing of their personal data for purposes of (1) targeted advertising, (2) the sale of personal data, or (3) profiling in furtherance of solely automated decisions that produce legal or similarly significant effects concerning the consumer.

Among other obligations, controllers will be required to:

  • limit the collection of personal data to “what is adequate, relevant and reasonably necessary” to the purposes for processing, as disclosed to the consumer;
  • process personal data only for purposes that are reasonably necessary to and compatible with the purposes for processing, as disclosed to the consumer (unless the controller obtains the consumer’s consent);
  • establish, implement, and maintain reasonable administrative, technical, and physical data security practices;
  • not process sensitive data concerning a consumer without obtaining the consumer’s consent;
  • not process personal data in violation of federal and state anti-discrimination laws;
  • provide an effective mechanism for a consumer to revoke consent and cease processing the data within 15 days of receiving a revocation request; and
  • not process personal data of a consumer for purposes of targeted advertising or sell the consumer’s personal data without the consumer’s consent, where a controller has actual knowledge and willfully disregards that a consumer is 13-15 years old.

The CTDPA shares many similarities with the California Consumer Privacy Act (CPRA), Colorado Privacy Act (CPA), Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act (VCDPA), and Utah Consumer Privacy Act. It incorporates the CPA’s and CPRA’s broad definition of “sale,” which includes exchanges of personal data for monetary or “other valuable consideration.”

Beginning January 1, 2025, the CTDPA also will follow the CPA’s example in requiring controllers to recognize opt-out preference signals sent via universal opt-out mechanism. The CTDPA aligns with the CPRA in not requiring the authentication of opt-out requests. Like the CPA and CPRA, the CTDPA prohibits the use of dark patterns to obtain consent.

In line with the CPA and VCDPA, the CTDPA requires controllers to obtain parental consent for the collection of personal data from a known child (i.e., children under 13 years old). The CTDPA also joins the CPRA, VCDPA, and CPA in requiring controllers to conduct data protection assessments prior to engaging in data processing activities that present a heightened risk of harm to consumers. Although the CTDPA will initially provide controllers a right to cure violations, the right to cure will end on December 31, 2024. As with most of the existing U.S. state privacy laws, the CTDPA does not provide for a private right of action.

The law will be enforced by the Connecticut Attorney General.

For more information, please see the links below:

Public Act No. 22-15

Article 1Article 2

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links provided above and make immediate adjustments to their data collection policies to ensure they are in compliance with the law.

December 2021: Connecticut Department of Labor Releases Guidance for Amendments to the FMLA Starting in 2022

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

What happened?
The Connecticut Department of Labor (CTDOL) issued nonbinding guidance on amendments to the Connecticut Family and Medical Leave Act (CTFMLA) that will become effective January 1, 2022.

What are the details?
Going into effect on January 1, 2022, employees will be entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid job-protected leave in a 12-month period—including leave that began in 2021, before the effective date of the amendments. This is in contrast to the 16 weeks of leave under the CTFMLA currently available to employees during a 24-month period, or at least until January 1, 2022.

The CTDOL has released its guidance on how employers should assess leaves that cross from 2021 to 2022.

According to the Guidance “If CTFMLA leave prior to January 2022, the duration of CTFMLA leave would be capped at 12 weeks in the applicable 12-month period as of January 1, 2022, even if were approved for, and commenced, 16 weeks of CTFMLA leave in 2021.”

Based on the Connecticut DOL’s position, for a continuous leave that runs into 2022, an employer will need to view leave status as of January 1, 2022, under the new law and based on the measuring period the company uses (rolling lookback period, calendar year, or other methods).

For more information, please see the links below:

Connecticut Department of Labor Guidance

Connecticut PFMLA Website

Article 1Article 2

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links above, revise any current CTFMLA policies to reflect all new amendments, and make any necessary adjustments to internal leave tracking systems.

November 2021: Connecticut Salary Range Question and Answers

Update Applicable to:

All employers in Connecticut.

What happened?

On September 28, 2021, the Connecticut Department of Labor released a Q&A for House Bill No. 6380 (HB 6380) Public Act 21-30.

What are the details?

In September 2021, the Connecticut Department of Labor released an article “Questions and Answers Regarding Public Act 21-30” – “An Act Concerning the Disclosure of Salary Range for a Vacant Position,” a guidance – not legal advice – for employers to comply with the new law that has been in effect since October 1, 2021.

Public Act 21-30 is a law prohibiting employers from failing or refusing to provide:

  • An applicant with the wage range for the position they applied to, either when they request it or before they are offered compensation, whichever is earlier; or
  • An employee with the wage range for their position when they are hired, change their position, or when they first request their wage range.

For more information, please see the links below:

House Bill No. 6380

Q&A Regarding Public Act 21-30

What do employers need to do?

Employers should review the questions within the Q&A link and review their payroll system.

October 2021: Connecticut’s CROWN Act Enacted

Update Applicable to:

All employers in Connecticut.

What happened?

On March 25, 2021, the Secretary of State passed the Connecticut CROWN Act (HB 6515) into law.

What are the details?

The law, effective as of October 1, 2021, amends the definition of “race” under the Connecticut Human Rights law, including the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (CFEPA), to encompass ethnic traits associated with race, including hair texture and hairstyles, such as wigs, head wraps, braids, cornrows, locks, twists, Bantu knots, afros, and afro puffs.

For more information, please see the links below:

HB 6515

Article

What do employers need to do?

Employers should review the law and their policies to make applicable updates to stay in compliance with both the CROWN Act and CFEPA. 

September 2021 Connecticut HR Legal Updates

Connecticut Makes Allowance for Some Training Portability

Update Applicable to:

All employers in Connecticut.

What happened?

On March 15, 2021, the Connecticut General Assembly amended the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (CFEPA).

What are the details?

The amendments, effective October 1, 2021, include information on the training portability of training completed by the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO).

The amendment states that employers are released from their obligation to provide training to a new employee if the new employee has received in-person training provided by the CHRO or taken the CHRO’s online training while employed by a different employer within the two years preceding the date of hire.

Information on the amendment can be read here.

An article on the amendment can be read here.

What do employers need to do?

Employers should review the amendments to be aware of the portability of the sexual harassment trainings provided by the CHRO and the impact of this amendment to their training policies.

August 2021 Connecticut HR Legal Updates

Recreational Marijuana Use Legalized in Connecticut

Update Applicable to:
All employers in Connecticut.

What happened?
On June 22, 2021, Governor Lamont signed Senate Bill (SB 1201) into law. 

What are the details?
The law, effective July 1, 2022, legalizes recreational marijuana use for adults 21 and older, requires expungement of certain existing marijuana convictions, and creates employment protections for recreational marijuana users. With certain statutory requirements, the law expressly permits employers to continue prohibiting employees from recreationally using marijuana. Employers that wish to take action based on positive recreational marijuana test results must comply with the requirements as a positive test alone will be insufficient to justify adverse employment action.

The law provides several provisions to employers that work to maintain a drug-free workplace.

  • Employers may continue to prohibit the use or possession of marijuana during work hours, on employer premises, and while using an employer’s equipment or other property.
  • Employers may continue to take adverse employment action based on recreational marijuana use, provided a written policy is in effect to prohibit such use.  Similarly, the law expressly allows employers to rescind conditional offers of employment to applicants who test positive for recreational marijuana use, provided the policy is made available to the applicant when the offer is made.
  • Employers are permitted to take adverse action against an employee who fails a reasonable suspicion drug test for marijuana, even if the employer has not implemented a written policy. 
  • Although the new law lacks clarity, it appears that employers in certain industries, including but not limited to mining, utilities, construction, transportation and delivery, healthcare or social services, educational services, and justice, public order, or safety activities are specifically exempted from the statutory provisions prohibiting adverse employment action unless under a written policy.
  • Employees in certain positions are also expressly excluded from protections offered to workers who engage in off-duty recreational marijuana use.  Express exemptions include, but are not limited to, positions regulated by the Department of Transportation (DOT), positions funded by federal grants, positions requiring supervision of children, medical patients or vulnerable persons, and positions with any potential health/safety impact (as determined by the employer). Individuals working in these positions are not entitled to legal protection for off-work marijuana use.

The new law will also prohibit adverse action by non-exempt employers without a written substance abuse/testing policy establishing rules against recreational marijuana use outside of work. This will impact the testing of both applicants and employees as, without a policy, employers will be prohibited from taking adverse action based on a positive marijuana drug test unless the employer had reasonable suspicion an employee was under the influence at the time of referral for testing.

The law can be read here.

An article on the law can be found here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the law here as well as their drug testing and marijuana policies to update and add any applicable policies to be in compliance by the time the law is in effect. The law firm, Littler Mendelson P.C., recommends employers review and update their existing drug-testing policies or implement a written policy if one is not already in place.  If an employer is using urine drug testing, keep in mind that the provisions of Connecticut’s general drug-testing statute regulating the use of urinalysis remain in place. Employers subject to federal drug-testing requirements should continue testing as mandated by federal law and seek guidance as necessary for state law compliance relating to their non-regulated workforces.

August 2021: Connecticut Employers Required to Provide Unpaid Time Off to Vote

Update Applicable to:
All employers in Connecticut. 

What happened?
On June 25, 2021, Governor Lamont signed General Assembly Bill 1202 into law, which included unpaid voting leave. 

What are the details?
Effective immediately and through June 30, 2024, employers are required to provide all employees with two hours of unpaid time off to vote. 

Any employee is eligible for the leave in the case of a state election or for employees who are electors in the case of any special election for United States senator, representative in Congress, state senator or state representative. The employee will be entitled to two hours of unpaid time from their regularly scheduled workday of any covered election during voting hours as long as it is requested no less than two working days prior to the election. 

The Bill is here

An article on the bill is here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the information provided above in order to update their leave policies to provide the required leave to their applicable employees for voting. 

July 2021 Connecticut HR Legal Updates

Connecticut Bans Job Applicant Age Inquiries

Update Applicable to:
All Employers in Connecticut.

What happened?
On June 24, 2021, Governor Ned Lamont signed Senate Bill 56 (SB56) into law.

What are the details?
The bill, effective October 1, 2021, will prohibit Connecticut employers with at least three employees from inquiring the age of prospective employees. The employer may not ask, directly or via a third party, a prospective employee about the following on an initial employment application:

  • Age;
  • Date of birth;
  • Dates of attendance at an educational institution; or
  • Date of graduation from an educational institution.

An employer may request that information only if:

  • The request or requirement is based on a bona fide occupational qualification or need; or
  • The employer has a need for such information to comply with applicable state or federal laws.

The bill can be read here.

An article on the bill can be read here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the law and their current job application forms and procedures to ensure they stay in compliance with the law. The law firm, Jackson Lewis P.C., recommends that employers review each position they employ to determine if each requires that a job applicant be a certain age to perform the duties of the position. As well as review applicable state and federal laws to determine if an employer must have information relating to a job applicant’s age to comply with such laws and ensure their key employees in the hiring process are educated about these new inquiry limitations.

June 2021 Connecticut HR Legal Updates

Connecticut Expands Breastfeeding Accommodation Requirements

Update Applicable to:
All employers in Connecticut

What happened?
On June 4, 2021, Governor Lamont signed House Bill 5158 (HB 5158) into law.

What are the details?
The new bill, effective October 1, 2021, guarantees an employee’s right to breastfeed or express breast milk at the workplace during their meal or break periods. Additionally, the employer will need to make reasonable efforts to provide a room or other location, in close proximity to the work area, other than a toilet stall, where the employee can express breast milk in private.

The room or other location will need to meet the following requirements: 

  • It must be free from intrusion and shielded from the public while the employee expresses breast milk;
  • It must include or be situated near a refrigerator or employee-provided portable cold storage device in which the employee can store breast milk; and
  • It must have access to an electrical outlet.

The new requirements will apply to the extent that they do not impose an “undue hardship” on the employer’s business. Undue hardship is described as “any action that requires significant difficulty or expense when considered in relation to facts such as the size of the business, its financial resources and the nature and structure of its operation.”

The bill can be read here.

An article on the bill can also be read here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the above law, and update their workplace policies as needed to ensure compliance with the new law.

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Connecticut Pay Equity Act Passed

Update Applicable to:
All employers in Connecticut

What happened?
On June 7, 2021, Governor Lamont signed House Bill 6380 into law.

What are the details?
The bill will be active starting October 1, 2021, and requires employers to disclose the “wage range” for vacant positions to employees and prospective employees and modifies prohibition against pay discrimination based on sex.

The wage range is defined in the law as the range of wages an employer anticipates relying on when setting wages for a position, and may include reference to any applicable pay scale, previously determined range of wages for the position, the actual range of wages for those employees currently holding comparable positions or the employer’s budgeted amount for the position. The law does not require an employer to disclose the amount of wages paid to any employee.

In addition to any preexisting restrictions, the new law makes it unlawful for an employer to:

  • Fail or refuse to provide an applicant for employment the wage range for a position for which the applicant is applying, upon the earliest of the applicant’s request, or prior to or at the time the applicant is made an offer of compensation.
  • Fail or refuse to provide an employee the wage range for the employee’s position upon the hiring of the employee, or a change in the employee’s position with the employer, or the employee’s first request for a wage range.

Additionally, the new law modifies the prohibition against pay discrimination on the basis of sex by paying wages at a rate less than the rate at which the employer pays wages to employees of the opposite sex for comparable work on a job. Determining whether work is comparable requires a review of various factors including “a composite of skill, effort, and responsibility.” The new law makes clear that geographic location, credentials, skills, education, and training may be bona fide factors other than sex upon which employers may make compensation decisions.

The bill can be read here.

Articles on the bill can also be read here and here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the information above and start preparing to make any necessary changes to their pay practices.

 

May 2021: Connecticut Sexual Harassment Training Deadline Extended to May 20, 2021

What happened?
The Connecticut October 1, 2020 Sexual Harassment Prevention Training deadline has been extended to May 20, 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic (Executive Order outlining date change). This legislation establishes new rules and requirements regarding sexual harassment training and education.  

What are the details?
The provisions and requirements, which apply to employers who have three or more employees, include the following:

  • Employers will be required to provide to a new employee a copy of the information regarding the illegality of sexual harassment and remedies available to victims.
  • Employers must provide all existing employees with two hours of training by May 20, 2021.
  • Employers must provide two hours of training and education to new employees hired on or after May 20, 2021, within six months of their start date.
  • Employers must provide periodic supplemental training no less than every 10 years.

What do employers need to do?
Employers must provide training:

  • The Time’s Up Act requires the agency to develop an online training and education video and to make that available to employers at no cost. The training can be viewed at the following website

Information to be provided to new and existing employees:

 

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