OLR Bill Analysis

sHB 5274

AN ACT CONCERNING UNEMPLOYED INDIVIDUALS AND DISCRIMINATORY HIRING PRACTICES.

SUMMARY:

This bill prohibits employers, employment agencies, and temporary help services from taking several actions if they are based solely on a person's “status as unemployed” (i.e., his or her past or present unemployed periods, regardless of their duration). The actions include (1) disqualifying a person from employment, (2) refusing to refer a person for employment (or requesting that he or she not be referred), and (3) limiting a person's access to information about a job.

The bill also prohibits employers, employment agencies, and temporary help services from publishing job advertisements or announcements in any medium that state or indicate that (1) a person's status as unemployed disqualifies him or her for a job or (2) an employer will not consider a person for a job based on his or her status as unemployed.

The bill specifies that it does not prohibit employers, employment agencies, or temporary help services from taking certain other actions, such as (1) requiring job applicants to hold valid licenses, registrations, or other credentials; (2) considering a person's employment history, including recent relevant experience; or (3) asking about the reasons behind a person's unemployment.

It also allows anyone aggrieved by a violation of its prohibitions to file a complaint with the labor commissioner, who can issue a $500 fine against first-time violators and a $1,000 fine for each subsequent violation. The commissioner can ask the attorney general to bring an action in civil court to recover the fines. Parties can appeal the commissioner's decision to the Superior Court.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2014

PROHIBITED ACTIONS

Employers

The bill prohibits employers from (1) disqualifying a person for employment solely because of the person's status as unemployed or (2) requesting that an employment agency or temporary help service not refer a person solely because of his or status as unemployed. Employers covered under the bill are any business owner, person, partnership, corporation, limited liability company (LLC), or association of persons acting directly as, on behalf of, or in the interest of an employer in relation to employees, including the state, its political subdivisions, employment agencies, and temporary help services.

Employment Agencies and Temporary Help Services

The bill prohibits employment agencies (including Internet websites that advertise job openings) and temporary help services from (1) disqualifying or refusing to refer a person for employment solely because of the person's status as unemployed or (2) limiting, segregating, or classifying a person based on his or her status as unemployed, in a way that limits his or her (a) access to information about a job or (b) job referrals.

An employment agency under the bill is (1) a business that receives compensation for procuring or offering to procure work for people seeking employment, (2) any agent of such a business, (3) a person who maintains an Internet web site that publishes job advertisements or announcements, or (4) a temporary help service. A temporary help service under the bill is a (1) person, company, society, association, LLC, or corporation with a business that directly employs people to furnish part-time or temporary help to others or (2) such a service's agent.

LIMITS ON BILL'S PROHIBITIONS

The bill specifies that it does not prohibit an employer, employment agency, temporary help service, or any of their agents, representatives, or designees from:

1. establishing minimum job qualifications, such as (a) holding a current and valid professional or occupational license, certificate, registration, permit, or other credential or (b) meeting minimum education, training, and experience levels;

2. stating that only the employer's current employees will be considered for a job;

3. publishing job advertisements in print or on the Internet that (a) present the job's minimum qualifications or (b) state that only the employer's current employees will be considered for a job;

4. considering a person's employment history, including recent relevant experience; or

5. asking for the reasons behind a person's past or present unemployment periods.

BACKGROUND

Related Bill

sHB 5054 (File no. 40), reported favorably by the Labor and Public Employees Committee, contains the same protections for unemployed job seekers, limits on prohibitions, and process for filing a complaint with the labor department.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Commerce Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

11

Nay

6

(03/20/2014)