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EMPLOYMENT LAWS IN CONNECTICUT YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW, BUT SHOULD! Connecticut Employers with Three or More Employees Must Provide a Pregnant Employee with Notice of Her Rights

Part Two in a Five-Part Series originally published in the Fairfield County Business Journal on February 17, 2020

 Since 2017, Connecticut law has required employers with three or more employees to provide all new employees with a notice regarding pregnancy discrimination and accommodation in the workplace.  Many employers have overlooked this requirement. This is not the only pregnancy related notice requirement –employers have ten days to provide this same notice as soon as they learn the employee is pregnant!  If ever there was a law that’s easy to overlook, this is the one.

Protections Afforded to Pregnant Employees

In 2017, then-Governor Dannel Malloy signed into law “An Act Concerning Pregnant Women in the Workplace” which amended the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (CFEPA) to modify existing protections and add a number of new protections for pregnant employees. 

Among other things, under the CFEPA, Employers with three or more employees may not:

  • Terminate or refuse a woman employment because of her pregnancy;
  • Refuse to grant a pregnant employee a reasonable leave of absence for disability resulting from her pregnancy;
  • Deny an employee disabled as a result of pregnancy any compensation to which she is entitled as a result of the accumulation of certain accrued benefits;
  • Refuse to reinstate the employee to her original job or to an equivalent position with equivalent pay and accumulated seniority, retirement, fringe benefits and other service credits upon her signifying her intent to return, unless, it is impossible or unreasonable to do so due to a change of circumstances for the employer.
  • Limit, classify or segregate a pregnant employee in a way which would deprive her of employment opportunities;
  • Fail or refuse to make a reasonable accommodation for an employee or job applicant due to pregnancy, unless the employer can demonstrate that the accommodation would impose an undue hardship;
  • Require an employee to take a leave of absence if a reasonable accommodation can be provided in lieu of the leave; or
  • Force a pregnant employee to take a reasonable accommodation they do not need or retaliate against an employee who requests a reasonable accommodation they do need.

Notice Requirements

The CFEPA requires employers provide to all employees a notice of pregnancy rights under CFEPA at the time of hire, and again to an employee the employer learns is pregnant, within ten days of learning about the pregnancy. A CFEPA-compliant notice is available on the Connecticut Department of Labor’s webpage: https://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/gendocs/SS46a%20Pregnancy%20Disability%20Poster.pdf

The Take Away

This is another one of those unexpected notice requirements employers tend to overlook. Employers, we urge you to look over the protections afforded to pregnant employees under CFEPA.  We also urge you to review your onboarding procedures to make sure the CFEPA notice is included in the forms you give new hires. Lastly, make sure to train your supervisors on the notice requirement and the contents of the notice.  Afterall, the first step in preventing a lawsuit is understanding the rules!