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EEO - Discrimination: Connecticut

EEO - Discrimination requirements for other states

Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.

Author: Elizabeth Acee, LeClairRyan

Summary

Discrimination Under the Connecticut Fair Employment and Practices Act

The Connecticut Fair Employment and Practices Act (CFEPA), prohibits discrimination because of an individual's race, color, religion, creed, age, sex (including pregnancy, child-bearing capacity, sterilization, fertility or related medical conditions), sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, national origin, ancestry, present or past history of mental disability, intellectual disability or learning disability and veteran status. +Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 46a-51 et seq. The CFEPA applies to both public and private employers. +Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46a-51.

Advertisements

The CFEPA prohibits an employer from advertising employment opportunities in such a manner as to restrict employment and discriminate against individuals because of membership in any protected class.

Posters

All Connecticut employers are encouraged to post a notice that discrimination is illegal in a conspicuous place in each place of employment. The posting of this notice may be required under agency or court order.

Defenses

Generally, an employer must comply with the antidiscrimination classifications provided in CFEPA unless the employer bases its discriminatory practice upon a bona fide occupational qualification or need. +Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46a-60.

Number of Employees and Procedural Timelines

The law applies to employers regularly employing three or more employees. +Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46a-51.

Generally, an employee has 180 days from the alleged discrimination to file a complaint with the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO). +Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46a-82 (f) Once CHRO provides the release or right to sue letter, an employee has ninety days to file a lawsuit in Connecticut Superior Court. +Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46a-83a; +Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46a- 101.

The statute of limitations to file a civil cause of action Connecticut is within two years of the date of filing complaint with CHRO.

Interns

Connecticut protects interns from workplace harassment and discrimination, including sexual harassment. Under the law, an intern is an individual who performs work for an employer for training purposes provided:

  • The employer is not committed to hire the individual at the end of the training period;
  • The employer and the individual agree that the individual is not entitled to wages for the work; and
  • The work performed:
    • Supplements educational training and may enhance employability;
    • Provides experience that benefits the individual;
    • Does not displace any employee of the employer;
    • Is performed under the employer's or an employee of the employer's supervision; and
    • Provides no immediate advantage to the employer and may impede its operations.

Establishing a Claim of Discrimination

To prove a claim of indirect discrimination, an individual must show that:

  1. The individual is a member of a protected class;
  2. The individual was qualified for the position;
  3. The individual suffered an adverse employment action; and
  4. The adverse action occurred under circumstances giving rise to an inference of discrimination.

See Board of Education of the City of Norwalk v. Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, +266 Conn. 492 (2003).

Unlawful Discriminatory Practices

Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity

CFEPA prohibits an employer from discriminating against an employee because of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. +Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46a-60. The definition of gender identity or expression is a person's gender-related identity, appearance or behavior, whether or not that gender-related identity, appearance or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with the person's physiology or assigned sex at birth. The gender-related identity can be shown by providing evidence of medical records or any other evidence as long as the gender-identity is a sincerely held part of the person's core identity.

On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that the 14th Amendment: (1) requires a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex; and (2) requires a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out of state. . See Obergefell v. Hodges, +2015 U.S. LEXIS 4250 (U.S. June 26, 2015). Even though gender identity and sexual orientation are not explicitly recognized as protected classes under federal law, in light of this ruling it is best practice for an employer to review and revise its discrimination policies and provide equal treatment to individuals in same-sex marriages with regard to leave, benefits, compensation and other terms of employment.

Discrimination Based on Disability

Physical Disability

CFEPA prohibits an employer from discriminating against an employee because of a physical disability. A physical disability is defined as any chronic physical handicap, infirmity or impairment, whether congenital or resulting from bodily injury, organic process or changes from illness, including, but not limited to, epilepsy, being hard of hearing, or reliance on a wheelchair or other remedial appliance of device. +Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46a-60. See Disabilities (ADA): Connecticut.

Connecticut specifically includes blindness as a protected disability. Blindness is defined as an individual whose central visual acuity does not exceed 20/200 in the better eye with correcting lenses, or whose visual acuity is greater than 20/200 but is accompanied by a limitation in the fields of vision such that the widest diameter of the visual field subtends an angle no greater than twenty degrees.

Perceived As Disabled

Unlike the ADA, the CFEPA does not explicitly extend its protections to individuals who may be perceived as having a physical disability. However, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that the CFEPA prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals whom they regard as physically disabled. Discrimination on the basis of a perceived disability occurs when an employer mistakenly perceives an employee to be disabled when in fact the employee is not. "Whether the disability is actual or merely perceived, in each case the employer makes an assumption about capability that is unrelated to actual [job] qualifications." To allow an employer to escape liability merely because a disability is not medically verifiable would reward the exact behavior the statute was intended to prohibit, the court wrote. See Desrosiers v. Diageo N. Am. Inc., +2014 Conn. LEXIS 441 (Conn. December 16, 2014).

Mental Disability

CFEPA prohibits an employer from discriminating against an employee because of a mental disability. +Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46a-60. A person is considered to have a mental disability when there is record of, or is regarded as having one or more mental disorders, as defined in the most recent edition of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Intellectual Disability

CFEPA prohibits an employer from discriminating against an employee because of an intellectual disability. +Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46a-60 Intellectual disability is defined as having significantly sub average intellectual functioning existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior and manifested during the developmental period.

Learning Disability

CFEPA prohibits an employer from discriminating against an employee because of a learning disability. +Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46a-60. A learning disability is defined as a person who exhibits a severe discrepancy between educational performance and measured intellectual ability and who exhibits a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, which may manifest itself in a diminished ability to listen, speak, read, write, spell or to do mathematical calculations.

Reasonable Accommodations Based on Disability

CFEPA does not explicitly provide that employers must reasonably accommodate employees with disability; however, the Connecticut Supreme Court has ruled that CFEPA does implicitly require employers to reasonably accommodate employers in accordance with federal law. See Curry v. Allan S. Goodman, Inc. +286 Conn. 390 (2008). Under the federal standard, an employee with a disability can ask an employer to make a reasonable accommodation so that the employee can perform his or her job.

Undue Hardship

An employer may have a defense to providing an employee a reasonable accommodation if the employer can show that the accommodation imposes an undue hardship on the employer's business which generally means more than a de minims cost to the employer.

Discrimination Based on Age

CFEPA prohibits an employer from discriminating against an employee because of his or her age. +Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46a-60. The statute does not specify an age at which individuals are protected. It is not certain whether it is possible to bring a claim of reverse age discrimination in Connecticut.

Retirement

CFEPA does not apply to the mandatory retirement of certain employees. +Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46a-60(b). CFEPA does not apply in the following situations:

  • An employee 70 years of age or older who is terminated from employment and that person had a contract of unlimited tenure at an independent institution of higher learning and is mandatorily retired, on or before July 1, 1993;
  • An employee 65 years of age and in the two years immediately preceding the employees retirement were employed in a bona fide executive or high policy making position, if that employee is entitled to an immediate nonforfeitable annual retirement from a pension, profit-sharing, savings or deferred compensation plan or any combination of these plans that equals at least $40,000;
  • Employees such as police and fire-fighters in which age is a bona fide occupational qualification;
  • Employees in bona fide apprenticeship plans; and
  • Employees enrolled in bona fide seniority systems or employee benefit plans for retirement which the purpose is not to avoid the prohibitions of this section.

Employers with less than 20 employees may not reduce health care coverage provided to any employee or employee's spouse who has reached the age of 65 and is eligible for Medicare benefits, except to the extent those benefits are covered by Medicare.

Employers with 20 or more employees must provide health care coverage to employees or their spouse who have reached the age of 65 under the same conditions as an employee or spouse under the age of 65.

Employers are prohibited from excluding or reducing the employee's benefit accruals in a retirement or pension plan because of the employee 's age.

CFEPA permits employers to require employees to submit to a medical examination to determine if the employee is physical qualified to continue employment.

Employees can continue to work after reaching a retirement date as indicated in any private pension or retirement plan and they must provide 30 days notice in writing to their employer if the employee plans to retire.

Discrimination Based on Pregnancy

CFEPA's prohibition on sex discrimination includes discrimination based on pregnancy, child-bearing capacity, sterilization, fertility or related medical conditions. CFEPA prohibits an employer from terminating a woman's employment because of her pregnancy. Employers cannot refuse to grant a female employee reasonable leave of absence for a disability relating to pregnancy and employers must pay any compensation that the employee would be entitled to under any disability or leave benefits program. +Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46a-60(a)(7).

Reasonable Accommodations Based on Pregnancy

The CFEPA also prohibits an employer from taking additional actions relating to a pregnant employee such as:

  • Terminating a woman's employment because of her pregnancy;
  • Refusing to grant a pregnant employee a reasonable leave of absence for disability resulting from her pregnancy;
  • Denying the pregnant employee any compensation to which she is entitled as a result of the accrual of disability or leave benefits under the employer's plan;
  • Failing or refusing to reinstate the pregnant employee to her original job or to an equivalent position with equivalent pay, accumulated seniority, retirement, fringe benefits and other service credits upon her signifying her intent to return unless, in the case of a private employer, the employer's circumstances have changed and now make it impossible or unreasonable to do so;
  • Limiting, segregating or classifying an employee in a way that would deprive her of employment opportunities due to her pregnancy;
  • Discriminating against an employee or applicant on the basis of her pregnancy in the terms or conditions of her employment;
  • Asking an employee or applicant about childbearing age or plans, pregnancy, function of the individual's reproductive system, use of birth control methods or familial responsibilities, unless the information is directly related to a bona fide occupational qualification or need;
  • Failing or refusing to make a reasonable accommodation for an employee or applicant due to her pregnancy, unless the employer can demonstrate that the accommodation would impose an undue hardship;
  • Denying employment opportunities to an employee or applicant if such denial is due to the person's request for a reasonable accommodation due to her pregnancy;
  • Forcing an employee or applicant affected by pregnancy to accept a reasonable accommodation if such employee or applicant does not have a known limitation related to her pregnancy, or does not require a reasonable accommodation to perform the essential duties related to her employment;
  • Requiring an employee to take a leave of absence if a reasonable accommodation can be provided in lieu of such leave; or
  • Retaliating against an employee in the terms, conditions or privileges of her employment based upon the employee's request for a reasonable accommodation.

Pregnancy means pregnancy, childbirth or a related condition, including, but not limited to, lactation. A disability resulting from pregnancy includes any pregnancy-related impairment or physical limitations imposed by any pregnancy or delivery.

An employer is required to provide a reasonable accommodation for an employee or applicant due to her pregnancy, unless the employer can demonstrate that the accommodation would impose an undue hardship.

See Disabilities (ADA): Connecticut.

An undue hardship to employers means an action that requires significant difficulty or expense when considered in light of the nature and cost of the accommodation; the overall financial resources of the employer; the overall size of the business of the employer (including the number of employees, and the number, type and location of its facilities); and the effect on expenses and resources or the impact otherwise of such accommodation upon the operation of the employer. When assessing whether a reasonable accommodation constitutes an undue hardship, an employer must consider the differing factors set forth under both the ADA and the CFEPA.

See Disabilities (ADA): Connecticut

+Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46a-60.

In addition, an employer is not permitted to ask an employee or applicant about childbearing age or plans, pregnancy, function of the individual's reproductive system, use of birth control methods or familial responsibilities, unless the information is directly related to a bona fide occupational qualification or need.

An employer may request from a health care provider information that is directly related to workplace exposure to a substance that may cause birth defects or constitute a hazard to the employee's reproductive system or fetus, as long as the employer first informs the employee of the hazards involved in exposure to such hazardous substances. Upon the employee's request, the employer must take reasonable measures to protect the employee from the exposure or hazard identified. A reasonable measure is one that is consistent with business necessity and is least disruptive to the employee's terms and conditions of employment.

+Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46a-60(a)(9); +Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46a-60(a)(10).

See Disabilities (ADA): Connecticut.

See alsoThe Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities Legal Enforcement Guidance: Pregnancy, Childbirth, or Related Conditions at Work..

Genetic Testing

CFEPA prohibits an employer from discriminating against a person based on genetic information or requesting or requiring genetic information from an employee or potential applicant. +Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46a-60(a)(11).

Genetic information is defined as information about genes, gene products or inherited characteristics that may derive from an individual or family member.

Discrimination Based on Religion

CFEPA prohibits an employer from discriminating against an employee on the basis of religious creed. +Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46a-60. Religious creed is defined as being related to all aspects of religious observance and practice as well as belief.

Reasonable Accommodations Based on Religion

Employers must attempt to reasonably accommodate an employee or prospective employee's religious observance or practice unless an employer is unable to do so without undue hardship on the conduct of the employer's business.

Ministerial Exception

CFEPA does not contain an explicit ministerial exception which exclude religious organizations from its antidiscrimination laws.

The Connecticut Appellate Court, following federal precedent recognized the ministerial exception and thus religious organizations are excluded from the antidiscrimination laws contained in CFEPA. See Rweyemamu v. Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, +98 Conn.App. 646 (2006).

Sabbath Observance

A law prohibiting employers from inquiring as to an employee's or applicant's observance of any Sabbath, allowing an individual to refuse to work on his or her Sabbath day, and preventing an employer from firing employees who refuse to work on their Sabbath day has been repealed. +Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-303(e) (d); +2013 Bill Text CT H.B. 6433.

However, Connecticut employers are required to comply with state and federal laws prohibiting discrimination, harassment and retaliation based on religion. Further, pursuant to existing law, employers are required to engage in the interactive process when faced with a request for a reasonable accommodation based on religious belief and grant reasonable accommodations if doing so would not pose an undue hardship.

Veteran Protections

Connecticut prohibits employment discrimination based on veteran status. +2017 Ct. ALS 127.

Enforcement of Employment Discrimination Laws

Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities

The CHRO is the administrative organization tasked with eliminating discrimination through civil and human rights law enforcement in Connecticut. In order for the CHRO to meet these goals, they have four regional offices in the State of Connecticut to hear complaints of illegal discrimination, and if necessary, order legal and equitable remedies against employers.

Judicial Proceedings

Generally, an employee must first exhaust his or her administrative remedies with the CHRO prior to filing a lawsuit in state court in Connecticut. Once an employee receives his or her release or right to sue letter from CHRO, the employee must file a civil cause of action in the state of Connecticut within 90 days.

Remedies for Discrimination

In an administrative hearing under the CHRO, the commissioner can award:

  • Reinstatement;
  • Hiring;
  • Back pay;
  • Costs and reasonable attorneys' fees; and
  • A cease and desist relating to discriminatory practices of the employer

In a civil cause of action, an employee can recover such legal and equitable remedies as the court sees fit to include:

  • Back pay;
  • Reinstatement;
  • Costs and reasonable attorneys' fees; and
  • Compensatory damages; and
  • Punitive damages, generally being limited to the plaintiff's litigation expenses less taxable costs.

+Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46a-104; See Berry v. Loiseau, Sr., +223 Conn. 786 (1992); Perez v. D & L Tractor Trailer School, +117 Conn.App. 680 (2009).

A forthcoming law expands remedies under the CHRO. See Future Developments.

Other Laws Prohibiting Discrimination

HIV/AIDS Testing

General consent must be obtained from a person prior to testing for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and the consent must include the following:

  • As part of the medical procedures or tests, the patient may be tested for HIV and
  • Such testing is voluntary and that the patient can choose not to be tested for HIV or antibodies to HIV.

+Conn. Gen. Stat. § 19a-582(a)

The general consent needed for HIV testing must be obtained without undue influence or any element of compulsion, fraud, deceit, duress or any other form of constraint or coercion.

Family Violence Victims

Employers cannot deprive, threaten, discharge, penalize, threaten or coerce an employee because:

  • The employee obeys a legal subpoena to appear in court as a witness to a criminal proceeding;
  • The employee attends court or participates in a police investigation related to a criminal case in which the employee is a crime victim or attends or participates in court proceedings related to a civil case in which the employee is a victim of family violence;
  • A restraining order has been issued on behalf of the employee relating to domestic violence;
  • A protective order has been issued on the employee's behalf; or
  • The employee is a victim of family violence.

+Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-85b

Remedies

An employee may bring a civil action against the employer for damages, reinstatement and reasonable attorneys' fees.

Employers may also face criminal contempt charges and be fined not more than $500 or imprisoned for not more than 30 days or both if they take illegal action against an employee in connection with the employee's appearance in court pursuant to a subpoena.

Statute of Limitations

An employee must bring his or her civil action within 180 days of the occurrence of the alleged violation of the act.

A forthcoming law extends the statute of limitations under the CHRO. See Future Developments.

Protection for the Homeless

The Homeless Person's Bill of Rights (S.B. 896) specifically designates the homeless as a protected class for purposes of employment discrimination. It guarantees that the rights, privacy and property of homeless persons are adequately safeguarded and protected and they are shielded from discrimination and harassment. As part of this, all homeless persons are to be provided with equal opportunities for employment as well as receive equal treatment by state and municipal agencies. It follows the federal definition of homeless person, which includes any individual who lacks a regular and primary nighttime residence and/or lives in a shelter.

Equal Pay

Employers cannot discriminate in the amount of compensation paid any employee on the basis of sex. +Conn. Gen. Stat. § 31-75. Any difference in pay based on sex shall be deemed a discrimination. To establish an equal pay claim, an employee must demonstrate that his or her employer discriminates on the basis of sex by paying wages to employees at the employer's business at a rate less than the rate at which the employer pays wages to employees of the opposite sex at such business for equal work on a job, the performance of which requires equal skill, effort and responsibility, and which are performed under similar working conditions.

It is also a discriminatory practice under CFEPA for an employer to discriminate against any individual in compensation because of the individual's sex, unless it is based upon a bona fide occupational qualification or need. +Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46a-60(a)(1).

Employer Defenses

An employer may have a defense to an equal pay claim if it can show that such pay was made pursuant to a:

  • Seniority system;
  • Merit system;
  • System which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production; or
  • Differential system based upon a bona fide factor other than sex, such as education, training or experience. The bona fide factor defense will only apply if the employer demonstrates that such factor: (a) is not based upon or derived from a sex based differential in compensation; and (b) is job-related and consistent with business necessity. The defense does not exist where the employee demonstrates that an alternative employment practice exists that would serve the same business purpose without producing such differential and that the employer has refused to adopt the practice. +Conn. Gen. Stat. § 31-75.

Remedies

An employee may recover the difference between the amount of wages paid and the maximum wage paid an employee for equal work. Additionally, employees may recover compensatory, and if the employer is found to have violated the Act with reckless indifference, punitive damages. Finally, employers may be fined or imprisoned or both for each offense under the Act. +Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 31-71g et seq.

Statute of Limitations

All actions under this section must be brought within two years of the alleged retaliation, except the time period is extended to three years if the violation is intentional or committed with reckless indifference.

Wage Disclosure

Connecticut's Act Concerning Pay Equity and Fairness enhances federal employee protections regarding wage discussions. The Act covers all employees, including supervisors and managers. The Act permits employees to freely discuss their wages and prohibits an employer from terminating, disciplining or discriminating against, retaliating against or otherwise penalizing an employee who inquires about a co-worker's wages or who discusses the amount of his or her wages or the wages of a co-worker that have been disclosed voluntarily. The Act also prohibits an employer from requiring an employee to sign a waiver or other document denying the employee of the right to discuss wages. The Act does not require that an employer disclose any wage information to an employee, but the employer may not retaliate against an employee for inquiring about them. +Conn. Gen. Stat. § 31-40z

Salary History Inquiry Ban

Effective January 1, 2019, Connecticut employers are prohibited from inquiring or directing a third party to inquire about a prospective employee's wage and salary history. This prohibition does not apply:

  • If the prospective employee voluntarily discloses his or her wage and salary history; or
  • To any actions taken by an employer, employment agency, or its employees or agents under a federal or state law that specifically authorizes the disclosure or verification of salary history for employment purposes.

An employer is not prohibited from inquiring about other elements of a prospective employee's compensation structure, as long as such employer does not inquire about the value of the elements of such compensation structure.

An employee or prospective employee who believes his or her rights may have been violated may bring a lawsuit within two years after an alleged violation of the salary history ban. An employer may be found liable for compensatory damages, attorneys' fees and costs, punitive damages and other legal or equitable relief as the court may deem just and proper.

See Public Act 18-8.; Employment Offer: Connecticut.

Lactation/Breastfeeding Protections and Accommodations

A place of public accommodation, resort or amusement cannot restrict or limit the right of a mother to breastfeed her child +Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46a-64. No person may restrict or limit the right of a mother to breastfeed her child. +Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-34b.

Any employee may, at her discretion, express breast milk or breastfeed on site at her workplace during her meal or break period. An employer, whether public or private, with one or more employees must make reasonable efforts to provide a room or other location, in close proximity to the work area, other than a toilet stall where the employee can express milk in private. An employer is forbidden from discriminating against an employee who decides to express breast milk or breastfeed on site at her workplace during her meal or break period. +Conn. Gen. Stat. § 31-40w.

Reasonable efforts for means any effort that would not impose an undue hardship on the employer which means any action that requires significant difficulty or expense when considered in relation to factors such as size of the business, its financial resources and the nature and structure of its operation.

Connecticut Family and Medical Leave Act

General Applicability

The Connecticut Family and Medical Leave Act (CFMLA) applies to employers, (except state or municipal or local or regional board of education or private or parochial elementary or secondary school) employing 75 or more employees which is determined annually by the amount of employees employed on October 1. +Conn. Gen. Stat. § 31-51kk (4).

An employee is eligible for CFMLA leave when he has worked at least 12 months and at least 1000 hours for the employer during those 12 months. +Conn. Gen. Stat. § 31-51kk (1).

  • Employee may take up to 16 weeks of leave in a 24 month period for the following reasons: Birth of a child;
  • Adoption of a child;
  • Care for a child, spouse, parent or parent in law with a serious health condition; and
  • To serves as organ or marrow donor.

+Conn. Gen. Stat. § 31-51kk (7); +Conn. Gen. Stat. § 31-51ll.

Position Upon Return

CMFLA requires that an employee be placed in the position he held prior to going on leave and it is only if that position is not available that the employer can then place the employee into an equivalent position. +Conn. Gen. Stat. § 31-51nn.

If an employee is unable to perform the duties of his original position because of his physical condition, the employer must transfer the employee to work suitable to the employer's condition as long such work is available. +Conn. Agencies Regs. § 31-51qq-21.

Urinalysis Test

An employer cannot determine employee eligibility for a promotion, additional compensation, termination, disciplinary or other adverse personnel action solely on the basis of a positive urinalysis test unless:

  1. The employer has given the employee a urinalysis drug test, utilizing a reliable methodology, which produced a positive result, and
  2. Such positive test result was confirmed by a second urinalysis drug test, which was separate and independent from the initial test.

+Conn. Gen. Stat. § 31-51u.

Prospective employees must be informed of the requirement of a urinalysis test as part of the application process, and the test must be performed in accordance with +Conn. Gen. Stat. § 31-51u and the applicant must be given a copy of the test results. +Conn. Gen. Stat. § 31-51v.

Employers are not allowed to directly observe the employee during a urinalysis test. +Conn. Gen. Stat. § 31-51w.

Military Leave

Connecticut employers are required to provide military leave protection to individuals performing military duties (not limited to attendance at meetings or drills) in Connecticut's armed forces. The armed forces include the organized militia, National Guard, naval militia and naval militia's Marine Corps branch. +2013 Bill Text CT S.B. 835.

This amended law expands beyond Connecticut's current obligations for employers to provide a leave of absence to employees who are required to attend US reserves or National Guard meetings or drills during regular working hours.

Current prohibitions will continue to apply. Specifically, employers cannot:

  • Directly or indirectly reduce or revoke an employee's vacation or holiday privileges because of military duty-related leave; and
  • Take actions that would adversely impact an employee's chance of promotion, continued employment or reemployment because of the military leave.

Future Developments

An Act Combatting Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment

Connecticut has passed An Act Combatting Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment (the Act), effective October 1, 2019, which expands sexual harassment prevention compliance and training requirements for employees and supervisors and strengthens employee protections.

Failure to Provide Harassment Training

Effective October 1, 2019, the Act expands sexual harassment prevention requirements with respect to training of supervisors and employees. Failure to provide the required training will be considered a discriminatory practice, and will be subject to fines up to $1,000, although the amendments do not specify whether this fine will be imposed on a per-employee basis.

See Training and Development: Connecticut; EEO - Harassment: Connecticut.

Enforcement and Remedies under the CHRO

With respect to procedural requirements and remedies, the Act extends the statute of limitations for filing a discriminatory practice claim with the CHRO from 180 days to 300.

In lieu of an administrative hearing, the CHRO may opt to file a court claim if the executive director determines that a civil action is in the public interest and if the parties to the administrative hearing mutually agree, in writing, to the filing of a claim. The original claimant could intervene in the CHRO's claim, and the case would be tried before a judge, without a jury.

Remedies have also been expanded. Administrative remedies may include:

  • Issuing an order to eliminate the discriminatory employment practice complained of and to make the complainant whole;
  • Determining the amount of damages suffered by the complainant, including the actual costs incurred by the complainant as a result of the discriminatory employment practice; and
  • Reasonable attorney fees and costs. The amount of attorney fees allowed must not be contingent upon the amount of damages requested by or awarded to the complainant.

Finally, punitive damages may be awarded by courts ruling on civil actions on discriminatory practices.

There are no other developments to report at this time. Continue to check XpertHR regularly for the latest information on this and other topics.

Civil Air Patrol Discrimination

Effective October 1, 2019, an employer is prohibited from discriminating against, disciplining or terminating an employee because the employee:

  • Is a member of the Civil Air Patrol (the civilian auxiliary of the US Air Force); or
  • Is absent from work for the purpose of: responding to emergencies or training as a civil air patrol member.

See USERRA: Connecticut.

+2019 Bill Text CT S.B. 863.

Additional Resources

Employee Management > EEO - Discrimination

Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities

Connecticut Department of Labor