The Connecticut Supreme Court, in a decision that will be officially released on May 15, 2012, today ruled unanimously that Connecticut’s anti-discrimination laws implicitly create a claim for hostile work environment based on an employee’s sexual orientation. The state’s anti-discrimination laws have long been interpreted to bar a hostile work environment based on gender, but this is the first time the court has expanded the scope to include sexual orientation.
The decision in Patino v. Birken Manufacturing has long been anticipated and is an important decision affirming the broad protection the state’s anti-discrimination laws give to sexual orientation. You can find more background on the case here.
According to the court:
We conclude that the phrase ‘‘terms, conditions or privileges of employment’’ constitutes a term of art with a fixed legal meaning, and the legislature’s use of that phrase in § 46a-81c (1) evidences its intent to permit hostile work environment claims where employees are subject to sexual orientation discrimination.
I’ll have more on the decision in an upcoming post next week.