Connecticut issues guidelines for disclosure of salary range for vacant positions
The Connecticut Department of Labor has issued guidance regarding the state’s “Vacant Position Salary Disclosure Act”, which will come into effect Oct. 1, 2021.
When reviewing these guidelines, employers should keep in mind that they do not constitute legal advice and are not binding. A court may have a different interpretation of the provisions of the law.
The directive reiterates that the law applies to all employers within the state use the services of one or more employees for remuneration, even if those employees are located outside the physical limits of the State.
With respect to covered employees, the Department of Labor considers remote employees working outside Connecticut to be covered by law if they work for or report to a state employer.
With respect to domestic employers, however, the Department of Labor does not interpret the law to cover employees who report to a physical out-of-state location, even if the employer also has a location in Connecticut.
The guide recognizes that there is no definition of “applicant” in the law and advises employers to interpret the term broadly. The Ministry of Labor has defined “candidate” as “anyone who applies for a job” and cautions employers that they cannot adopt their own definition of “candidate”.
The orientation also deals with what should be included in the salary scale. As per the definition of “wages” under Connecticut law, the Department of Labor states that “[g]generally, discretionary compensation is not not constitute salary “and, therefore,” such remuneration need not be disclosed to any employee or candidate “. However, non-discretionary bonuses and commission plans must be disclosed as part of the salary scale.
The guidelines also respond to employers’ concerns about the extent of the disclosures required. By law, a candidate can only apply for the salary scale for the position they are applying for. According to the guidelines, “the employer is not required to provide the applicant with information regarding the amount of wages paid to other employees. While employees can ask other employees about their wages and are protected from retaliation for doing so, an employer is not required to disclose wages paid to other employees.
Finally, the guidelines reiterate that a plaintiff or employee can bring a civil action within two years of the date of any alleged violation of the law. The remedies available include compensatory damages, attorney’s fees and expenses, punitive damages and any other remedy that a court deems “just and appropriate”. In addition, anyone who alleges a violation of the law can file a complaint with the labor commissioner. The labor commissioner can impose civil penalties on an employer, but cannot seek damages for the plaintiff or the employee if a violation is found.
Connecticut employers are expected to continue to review their salary range disclosure practices to ensure compliance by October 1, 2021.