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March 3, 2022 Labor and Public Employees Cmte, HB 5245

Public Hearing Testimony of
Daryle Dudzinski, Deputy Commissioner
Department of Labor
Labor and Public Employees Committee
March 3, 2022


Good Morning Senator Kushner, Representative Porter, Senator Sampson, Representative Arora and members of the Labor and Public Employees Committee. Thank you for the opportunity to provide you with testimony regarding House Bill 5245, AN ACT CONCERNING FORCED ARBITRATION AGREEMENTS AND ALLOWING CERTAIN COURT ACTIONS TO BE BROUGHT ON BEHALF OF THE STATE.  My name is Daryle Dudzinski and I am the Deputy Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Labor.


The Connecticut Department of Labor (CTDOL) has concerns about Section 2 of the proposed bill that would allow employees to sue employers on behalf of the state after having waived their personal rights to sue by signing forced arbitration agreements.


The intent of HB 5245 is well-meaning.  However, the requirement that CTDOL distribute various grants collected in the newly established non-lapsing General Fund "community outreach and workplace account" in Section 2 would place an undue burden on the Agency given that we currently do not have the staff to fulfill this mandate.  Specifically, Section 2 requires that CTDOL distribute twenty-five per cent of any civil penalties collected to labor or nonprofit organizations to fund outreach, education and technical assistance pertaining to employee rights in the workplace.  In addition, grants provided must be used for activities to assist workers in enforcing employment rights.  When considering applications for such grants, CTDOL must give priority to projects that provide services to especially vulnerable workers, including low-wage, immigrant, refugee and contingent workers, women, lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered workers, workers with disabilities and injured workers.  The grant writing specialists needed to draft the Request for Proposal and staff to manage this new grant program would require CTDOL to hire additional staff to meet the qualifications as outlined in Section 2.


Thank you for the opportunity to provide this testimony. I am available to answer any questions you may have.


Connecticut Department of Labor
An Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer