Changes to Connecticut’s Anti-Discrimination Law

Sep 27 2022

The Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (CFEPA) is the Connecticut law that prohibits discrimination in employment. Enacted in the late 1940s, the CFEPA predated the federal Civil Rights Act by more than 15 years. Now Connecticut continues to be on the forefront of rooting out discrimination in employment. Specifically, in its 2022 legislative session, the Connecticut General Assembly approved three changes to the CFEPA that take effect on October 1, 2022.

The first and most sweeping change affects the scope of the CFEPA. Most federal anti-discrimination laws only apply to employers with 15 or more employees. The CFEPA previously applied to employers with three or more employees. As of October 1, the CFEPA applies to all employers, even if they only have one employee. This means anyone who employs anyone in the State of Connecticut is prohibited from engaging in employment discrimination.

Second, the CFEPA now includes as a protected category the status of being a victim or survivor of domestic violence. Not only are Connecticut employers prohibited from discriminating against employees because they have experienced domestic violence, but employers also must provide those employees with a reasonable leave of absence in order to address issues caused by domestic violence, including to obtain medical or mental health treatment. The law also requires employers to maintain the confidentiality of an employee’s status as a domestic violence victim or survivor.

Third, the CFEPA now includes under the definition of “employee” anyone who is an “elected or appointed official of a municipality, board, commission, counsel or other governmental body.” This expands the scope of the CFEPA to protect many officials who are not compensated for their work and thus previously would not have been considered “employees” entitled to protection.

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