Connecticut: Greater Protections for Pregnant Employees

APPLIES TO

All Employers with CT Employees

EFFECTIVE

October 1, 2017

QUESTIONS?

Contact HR On-Call

(888) 378-2456

On July 6, 2017, Governor Dannel Malloy signed a new law that significantly increases existing anti-discrimination protections for pregnant workers.  “An Act Concerning Pregnant Women in the Workplace” (the “Act”) goes into effect October 1, 2017.  The Act amends the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (“CFEPA”) to add new anti-discrimination protections, provide definitions for “pregnancy,” “reasonable accommodation,” and “undue hardship,” and require employers to notify employees of their rights.

Currently, the CFEPA prohibits employers from: (1) denying an employee disabled by pregnancy the use of a reasonable leave of absence, or any other accrued disability/leave benefit offered by the employer; (2) terminating employment due to the pregnancy; or (3) failing or refusing to reinstate an employee to her original or equivalent position upon notice of her intent to return to the organization, unless the employer’s business circumstances have changed enough to make it impossible or unreasonable to do so.

In addition to these protections, the Act adds the following anti-discrimination provisions:

  • Employers may not discriminate against employees or job applicants on the basis of pregnancy in relation to their terms or conditions of employment;
  • Employers must make reasonable accommodations for an employee or job applicant due to the pregnancy, unless the accommodation poses undue hardship. Where reasonable accommodations are concerned, employers are also prohibited from:
    • Denying employment opportunities to an employee or job applicant because of a request for a reasonable accommodation due to pregnancy;
    • Force an employee or job applicant to accept a reasonable accommodation if (1) the employee does not have known limitations related to the pregnancy, or (2) does not require a reasonable accommodation to perform the essential duties of her position;
    • Require an employee to take a leave of absence if a reasonable accommodation is available; or
    • Retaliate against an employee for requesting a reasonable accommodation.

Definitions

The Act defines a few key terms as follows:

  • “Pregnancy” means pregnancy, childbirth, or a related condition, including, but not limited to, lactation;
  • “Reasonable accommodation” means, but shall not be limited to, being permitted to sit while working, more frequent or longer breaks, periodic rest, assistance with manual labor, job restructuring, light duty assignments, modified work schedules, temporary transfers to less strenuous or hazardous work, time off to recover from childbirth or break time and appropriate facilities for expressing breast milk; and
  • “Undue hardship” means an action requiring significant difficulty or expense when considered in light of factors such as (A) the nature/cost of the accommodation; (B) the overall financial resources of the employer; (C) the overall size of the business of the employer (employee headcount), and the number, type, and location of its facilities; and (D) the effect on expenses and resources or the impact otherwise of such accommodation upon the operation of the employer.

Notice Requirements

Employers with Connecticut employees must provide workers a written notice, in English and Spanish, describing the provisions of the Act.  This notice must be provided to:

  • All new employees at the time of hire;
  • Existing employees within 120 days of the effective date of the Act, meaning January 29, 2018; and
  • Any employee who notifies the employer of their pregnant status within 10 days of receipt of such notification.

Employers must display a poster containing the information required by the Act in a conspicuous location in the workplace.

Action Items

  1. Read the text of the Act here.
  2. Arrange for training of supervisory staff on the increased protections afforded to pregnant employees, including the interactive process for reasonable accommodations and new notice requirements.
  3. Post a notice that outlines the anti-discrimination protections in the Act in a conspicuous location in the workplace and provide to all new hire employees by October 1, 2017, and provide such notice to all existing employees no later than January 29, 2018. A notice will be provided to Blue Rock subscribers before the deadline.
  4. Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.

Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.

© 2017 ManagEase, Incorporated.

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