Connecticut lawmakers debated several bills this Tuesday that could have a significant impact on Connecticut employers. The two most important ones would: (1) prohibit discrimination against currently unemployment applicants; (2) increase the penalties for wage and overtime violations; and (3) provide for a periodic increase in the minimum wage over the next few years.
Senate Committee Bill 1 is a variation on a federal bill introduced several months ago (see our post here) that would make it a discriminatory practice for employers or employment agencies “to refuse to consider [an applicant] for employment . . . on the basis that such individual is unemployed.” There would be an exception when one’s “employment in a similar or related job . . . is a bona fide occupational qualification reasonably necessary to successful performance of the job.” It is unclear when an employment-related requirement would be considered “reasonably necessary” for a position, and this issue would presumably have to be resolved on a case-by-case basis.
Bill No. 5291 would increase the penalties for failing to pay employees minimum wage and/or overtime from two to three times the amount of the violation. Additionally, the bill provides for periodic increases of the minimum wage over the next few years: the current amount of $8.25 would rise to $9.00 on July 1, 2012 and to $9.75 on July 1, 2013 (“or one-half of one per cent rounded to the nearest whole cent more than the highest federal minimum wage, whichever is greater . . .”).
Stay tuned to this blog for further developments on these proposals.