No Merger for Workers’ Compensation Commission

May 21, 2012

Below is an update as written by the Connecticut Law Tribune on the Legislative action on the Workers’ Compensation Commission.

Several bills of note did not make the cut. Workers’ compensation lawyers had been concerned that the Workers’ Compensation Commission would be merged into the state Department of Labor, but though the legislative session came to an end, the commission’s independence did not.

“Any consolidation would be of administrative functions only,” said attorney Frank Bailey, of Bridgeport’s Tremont Sheldon P.C., who had testified in opposition to a more sweeping reorganization.

A bill that would have prevented employers from discriminating against job applicants who are unemployed, much the same way existing laws curb hiring discrimination on the basis of race, religion, age, gender and disability passed the Senate but did not come up for vote in the House. New Jersey became the first state last year to pass such a law.

The measure would have prohibited employers and employment agencies from placing job ads that include “currently employed” as a job qualification or that suggest that unemployed people not apply. Some lawmakers said classified advertisements that rule out jobless persons have been posted in Connecticut.

Members of the employment law bar seemed to have mixed reactions to the proposal. Some felt the state Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities did not have the staffing to handle an influx of more discrimination complaints and that some people are unemployed for a reason — that they aren’t very good employees.

Others felt that having such a law would give the jobless a fairer shake in the interview process.

Law Tribune Senior Writer Thomas B. Scheffey contributed to this report.

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