In June 2020, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont approved a new law changing the standard of proof for pay discrimination. Instead of the traditional standard of equal pay for equal work, plaintiffs in this type of case must show that they fail to receive equal pay for comparable work because of gender.
Review the meaning of the new standard and explore how it may apply to your workplace.
Reasons for the change
Proponents of the revised law report that changing the wording from equal work to comparable work can reduce the imbalance of pay between men and women. To receive equal pay, a woman’s comparable work need not be identical to a man’s job but must require the same level of responsibility, effort and skill in the respective area. Advocates of the change say it will improve the ability of workers to negotiate salaries with enhanced transparency.
Criticism of the new law
Many business owners have expressed concerns about their right to set their own salaries. They feel the wording of the law will now prevent them from varying the wages for different positions for fear of discrimination lawsuits. They also note that small businesses cannot compete with many of the benefits offered by larger employers and that this law keeps them from competing through generous salary and bonus programs to incentivize performance and attract talent.
In general, employers should understand that the new law uses broader language that expands the possibility of liability. They also must adhere to provisions that include providing a salary range for positions to current and prospective employees.