Workers in Connecticut who have experienced being discriminated at work may be eligible to file a workplace discrimination claim against their employer.
It is against both state and federal law in Connecticut for an employer to apply workplace discrimination based on any of the following characteristics: religion, race (including being Caucasian), gender, ethnicity, disability and age if the employee is more than 40 years old.
Federal employment discrimination laws apply to employers who employ 15 or more employees, and 20 or more for age discrimination. There is no minimum number of employees required for claims of Connecticut workplace discrimination which are based on race or ethnicity.
What kind of discrimination laws are in place in Connecticut?
Connecticut has a Human Rights and Opportunities Act which makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate on the basis of race, color, religious creed, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, marital status and disability, which includes, mental, learning, intellectual and physical disabilities.
Also included are sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, genetic information, and criminal record. The later applies to state employment & licensing only.
Who is protected by federal and state laws in Connecticut?
Employees in Connecticut are covered by both federal and state workplace discrimination laws. The federal laws protect employees from discrimination based on race, disability, age, sex, gender and religion which are called protected classes.
The state laws include a number of other categories including marital status, disabilities which include mental, learning, intellectual and physical. Also included are sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, genetic information, and criminal record.
The Connecticut workplace discrimination statute covers a few of the smaller employers not covered by federal law. Therefore, if your workplace has between 3 and 14 employees, you will be covered only under state law, and should file with the CHRO.
If your workplace has 15 or more employees, you will be able to initiate a claim under both federal and state law by filing with the CHRO.
What employers are covered by discrimination laws in Connecticut?
The federal anti-discrimination laws that affect Connecticut employers are:
- 42 U.S.C. section 1981 federal law which prohibits race discrimination in all contracts, which not only includes employment but also all other types of contracts as well.
- The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) which prohibits Connecticut workplace discrimination for workers more than 40 years of age. The coverage of the ADEA is similar to Title VII but a private employer requires 20 employees to be covered.
- The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not permit disability discrimination in public services and accommodations.
- Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination due to an employee’s or job applicant’s race, color, sex, religion or national origin. This law is applicable to both public employers and private employers who employ at least 15 employees, apprenticeship programs, employment agencies and unions.
Which Connecticut agencies regulate anti-discrimination laws?
The state administrative agency in Connecticut is called the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO), which is responsible for the state’s primary workplace discrimination legislation, the Human Rights and Opportunities Act.
How do I file a discrimination claim in Connecticut?
In Connecticut, you will need to file a workplace discrimination claim with the state’s administrative agency, the CHRO. This state agency has a “work-sharing agreement” with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) which is the federal administrative agency.
This means that the two agencies cooperate with one another when processing workplace discrimination claims. It is not necessary to file a claim with both agencies as long as you tell the CHRO that you want it to “cross-file” your claim with the EEOC.
The Connecticut anti-discrimination statute covers some smaller employers who are not covered by federal law. If your workplace has between 3 and 14 employees, you are covered by state law, so you should file your workplace discrimination claim with the CHRO.
If your employer has 15 or more employees, you can file a claim using both federal and state laws by filing it with the CHRO.
How long do I have to file an employment discrimination claim in Connecticut?
You must file your workplace discrimination claim with the CHRO within 180 days of the date the discrimination took place.
The same deadline applies to Connecticut discrimination claims filed through the federal agency, the EEOC or cross-filed with the state agency. If a state or local agency enforces a law that disallows workplace discrimination, the deadline is 300 days.
How do I get help filing an employment discrimination claim in Connecticut?
If the CHRO or EEOC are not able to resolve your workplace discrimination claim you will need to hire an employment attorney to help you file a lawsuit in court.
You should provide sufficient evidence to prove your Connecticut workplace discrimination so that your lawyer has a higher chance of reaching a successful settlement.