Workers' Compensation Act as amended to January 1, 2022
Discharge or discrimination prohibited. Right of action.
Sec. 31-290a. Discharge or discrimination prohibited. Right of action.
(a) No employer who is subject to the provisions of this chapter shall: (1) Discharge or cause to be discharged, or in any manner discipline or discriminate against any employee because the employee has filed a claim for workers' compensation benefits or otherwise exercised the rights afforded to him pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, or (2) deliberately misinform or deliberately dissuade an employee from filing a claim for workers' compensation benefits or, on or after October 1, 2021, a claim for payment of benefits from the Connecticut Essential Workers COVID-19 Assistance Fund.
(b) Any employee who is so discharged, disciplined or discriminated against or who has been deliberately misinformed or deliberately dissuaded from filing a claim for workers' compensation benefits or a claim for payment of benefits from the Connecticut Essential Workers COVID-19 Assistance Fund may either: (1) Bring a civil action in the superior court for the judicial district where the employer has its principal office for the reinstatement of his previous job, payment of back wages and reestablishment of employee benefits to which he would have otherwise been entitled if he had not been discriminated against or discharged and any other damages caused by such discrimination or discharge. The court may also award punitive damages. Any employee who prevails in such a civil action shall be awarded reasonable attorney's fees and costs to be taxed by the court; or (2) file a complaint with the chairman of the Workers' Compensation Commission alleging violation of the provisions of subsection (a) of this section. Upon receipt of any such complaint, the chairman shall select an administrative law judge to hear the complaint, provided any administrative law judge who has previously rendered any decision concerning the claim shall be excluded. The hearing shall be held in the workers' compensation district where the employer has its principal office. After the hearing, the administrative law judge shall send each party a written copy of his decision. The administrative law judge may award the employee the reinstatement of his previous job, payment of back wages and reestablishment of employee benefits to which he otherwise would have been eligible if he had not been discriminated against or discharged. Any employee who prevails in such a complaint shall be awarded reasonable attorney's fees. Any party aggrieved by the decision of the administrative law judge may appeal the decision to the Appellate Court.
(P.A. 84-300, S. 1, 2; P.A. 21-18, S. 1; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 21-2, S. 290.)
History: Pursuant to P.A. 21-18, â€ścommissionerâ€ť was changed editorially by the Revisors to â€śadministrative law judgeâ€ť in Subsec. (b), effective October 1, 2021; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 21-2 amended Subsec. (a) by making technical changes and designating existing Subsec. (a) as Subdiv. (1) and adding a reference to discipline therein, adding Subdiv. (2) regarding deliberately misinforming or dissuading an employee from filing a claim for workers' compensation benefits or a claim for benefits under the Connecticut Essential Workers COVID-19 Assistance Fund and amended Subsec. (b) by adding a provision re any employee who is disciplined or who has been deliberately misinformed or dissuaded from filing a claim for workers' compensation benefits or a claim for benefits under the Connecticut Essential Workers COVID-19 Assistance Fund, effective June 23, 2021.
Cited. 216 C. 40; 219 C. 1; 221 C. 356; 226 C. 475. Employer does not violate section when it discharges employee solely on the basis that employee, who claims a continued inability to work, fails to return to work following a compensable injury despite having been cleared to do so by his or her treating physician. 258 C. 724. Plaintiff failed to establish prima facie case of employment discrimination under statute by failing to present sufficient evidence that she had exercised any rights afforded to her under act and by lack of evidence in the record to support commissioner's finding that the principal or vice principal knew that plaintiff was exercising her rights or that they intended to discriminate against her for exercising her rights. 270 C. 751. Doctrine of absolute immunity does not bar an employee's claim under section that is predicated solely on the employer's act of filing a retaliatory counterclaim. 310 C. 616.
Cited. 24 CA 362; 28 CA 660; 33 CA 490; 34 CA 708; 40 CA 577; 43 CA 1. Reaffirmed prior rulings that plaintiff has burden of proving discrimination by a fair preponderance of the evidence. 52 CA 570. Where plaintiff offered no evidence to raise an inference of discrimination and failed to present a genuine issue of material fact as to the reason for termination, trial court properly found that a trier of fact could not find discriminatory intent as required under statute. 64 CA 263. Plaintiff must present sufficient evidence that there was a causal connection between the exercise of his right to workers' compensation benefits and the termination of his employment; statute does not create liability for all torts and does not create a statutory basis for the abrogation of governmental immunity as to other torts. 108 CA 710. Commissioner not required to hold a hearing on party's motion to open a finding and award levied in accordance with provisions of section. 139 CA 687. It suffices that the employer set forth one legitimate nondiscriminatory reason for the employee's discharge, and the court is not required to examine every reason or explanation set forth by the employer. 143 CA 351. A claim under section premised solely on litigation misconduct and not involving conduct outside of the judicial process may not be brought prior to termination of the underlying litigation. 158 CA 176.
Section contains no requirement that any particular word be used in terminating an employee's employment; standard for proof of a retaliatory discharge. 49 CA 66.
Cited. 219 C. 314; 232 C. 91.
Cited. 41 CA 116. In making award under Subsec., commissioner required to make â€śdue allowanceâ€ť under Sec. 31-314 for any sum paid by employer. 49 CA 66. Subject matter jurisdiction cannot be waived by consent and therefore a stipulation between plaintiff and defendant cannot deprive commissioner of jurisdiction over plaintiff's claim. Id., 114.