Connecticut Employment Law Blog Insight on Labor & Employment Developments for Connecticut Businesses

Category Archives: Discrimination & Harassment

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Legislative Update: Pregnancy Discrimination Protections Under State Law Changing?

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Legislative Developments

On Tuesday, May 23rd, the Connecticut House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a measure that would greatly expand the already broad anti-discrimination provision that exist under Connecticut law.  The bill, House Bill 6668, would make several substantive changes to the protections including defining what is a “reasonable accommodation” instead of leaving that determination open. I’ve previously… Continue Reading

Citing Statistics, Yankee Institute Critical of CHRO — Again

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance

This week, the Yankee Institute for Public Policy, a self-described “free market” think tank, issued an article suggesting that Connecticut had nearly the same number of discrimination complaints as our neighboring state, Massachusetts. (This isn’t the first time it’s been critical of the CHRO.) In doing so, the Yankee Institute claimed that these statistics raise… Continue Reading

The Dialogue: Workplace Complaints and Happy Endings As Rare As Unicorn Frappuccinos?

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Featured, Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Manager & HR Pro’s Resource Center

The Dialogue — one of the more popular recurring posts — returns for the third time. Does that mean the third time’s the charm? Or is it three strikes and we’re out? In any event, Nina Pirrotti of Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald and Pirrotti, P.C. returns for this installment where an employee-side and employer-side attorney discuss the… Continue Reading

Title VII and Sexual Orientation Debate Largely Moot in Connecticut

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Litigation

Over the last week or so, there have been two prominent Circuit Court decisions addressing whether Title VII (the federal law prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, religion and national origin) can be interpreted to also protect employees from being discriminated against because of their sexual orientation. The Second Circuit, which… Continue Reading

Second Circuit Rejects Employee’s Trypanophobia Claim

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Litigation

You don’t need to look for a needle in a haystack to figure out this latest case from the Second Circuit. But you do need to know what “trypanophobia” is. Ready? Fear of needles. That becomes important in a Second Circuit court decision yesterday holding that an employee’s fear of needles prevented that employee from… Continue Reading

The Dialogue: Hiring Employees the Right Way (From Different Sides)

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance

I’ll confess. I’m excited about today’s post.  It’s hard to find something new to do after nearly 10 years of blogging, but I think today’s post is pretty innovative. Unless you read The New York Times “The Conversation” which we’ve tried to copy emulate here.  Except this post (and hopefully others) will be called “The Dialogue”.  Somehow different,… Continue Reading

Mary Tyler Moore Taught Us One of the Best Employment Discrimination Lessons

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Laws and Regulations

Mary Richards’ job interview with Lou Grant is, perhaps one of the most famous job interviews ever. So says Time magazine. Before I go on, though, there are probably more than a few of you who don’t know what I’m talking about. But with the passing of Mary Tyler Moore earlier today here in Connecticut,… Continue Reading

Could “The Last Jedi” Actually Be Practicing Religion in Your Workplace?

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight

Yesterday, news came out that Episode 8 (I mean, VIII) of the Star Wars series would be named “The Last Jedi”. Which reminded me about an article in The New York Times I saw a few weeks ago that I had been meaning to write about. Turns out there are, according a BBC report cited… Continue Reading

Punitive Damages Not Available For State Employment Discrimination Claims

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Laws and Regulations, Litigation

In a decision that will be officially released next week, the Connecticut Supreme Court has, at last, ruled that punitive damages are not an available remedy for state law employment discrimination claims. You may recall that I discussed the Appellate Court’s decision that had originally found the same thing back in 2015.  The case, Tomick… Continue Reading

Deep Dive Into CHRO Case Statistics Show Increases in “Harassment” Claims

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance

As I did last year, after I posted on the general statistics of the CHRO to see if we could glean any trends, I took a deeper dive into what the statistics this year show.  And there were definitely a few surprises. Obviously, at the risk of repeating yesterday’s post, FY 2015-2016 was a very big… Continue Reading

New Statistics From CHRO Show Continued Rise in Discrimination Complaints

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight

At this week’s CHRO information session, I was able to review the new statistics released by the CHRO this fall regarding case filings and dismissals. They’ve now been posted live on the CHRO’s website here. It’s something I’ve covered each year and I’m always fascinated by what these statistics show — and don’t show. What’s… Continue Reading

From the Archives: Back to the Basics on Sexual Harassment Prevention

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Human Resources (HR) Compliance

Wrapping up my look back this shortened week at some “Basics” posts, here’s a reminder of the obligations employers have to conduct sexual harassment prevention trainings.  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and thanks for your continued readership.   With every new law that gets passed, it’s easy to overlook the existing requirements that employers must follow…. Continue Reading

Employers, Employees and Reasonable Accommodations: A Webinar

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance

Tomorrow, I’ll be part of a webinar produced by the American Bar Association on reasonable accommodations under the ADA.  You can still sign up here. The topic page for the webinar gives a fairly concise summary: A reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is any modification or adjustment to a job or… Continue Reading

Restroom Access and Transgender Issues in the Workplace Go Supreme

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance

I still remain amazed at the sold-out crowd we had at last week’s Labor & Employment Law seminar.  Well over 250 people registered for the program and I kind of wanted to whisper to people: “You know this is just a LEGAL seminar, right?” But no matter. Employment law issues are as popular as ever and… Continue Reading

Silence May Not Be Golden When It Comes to the ADA’s Interactive Process

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Litigation, Manager & HR Pro’s Resource Center

My colleague Gary Starr sits next to my office and sometimes we bounce ideas off each other. One of the things we were talking about recently was a new case that discussed an employer’s obligations to enter into the interactive process.   This often comes up in ADA cases where the employee may need a reasonable accommodation…. Continue Reading

Trump’s So-Called “Locker Room Talk”: Would It Count Towards a “Hostile Work Environment”?

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Manager & HR Pro’s Resource Center

I’ve always tried for this blog to be apolitical.  That doesn’t mean I don’t have political views — I obviously do — but I don’t think that they should play into how we look at certain legal issues. But we need to talk about the recorded comments from Donald Trump because I think employers need… Continue Reading

Well Well: Court Sides with Employer in Latest Wellness Program Battle (Part 1)

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Laws and Regulations, Litigation

My colleague Marc Herman returns today to bring back the story of wellness programs and whether they will continue to pass legal muster. In the first post of a two-parter, Marc updates us on some litigation. Read on.   Here’s one for you:  Did you hear the one about the employee that turned down the opportunity… Continue Reading

Maybe That Lawsuit Brought By Your Employee Isn’t So Frivolous

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Litigation, Manager & HR Pro’s Resource Center

In yesterday’s post, I talked about some of the reasons why an employee’s lawsuit against his or her employer was destined for failure. But employers, I’m afraid you’re not off the hook that easily. This post is for any employer that just got sued or threatened with suit. Maybe that lawsuit isn’t so frivolous after all…. Continue Reading

Maybe That Discrimination Lawsuit Against Your Employer is Ill-Advised

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Litigation, Manager & HR Pro’s Resource Center

As I approach the ninth anniversary of this blog this week (watch for that anniversary post soon), I’ve gotten a bit more reflective as well.  Some of that is personal circumstances I’ve mentioned before; perhaps some of it is age and experience. And I find myself wanting to speak directly to employees who have brought… Continue Reading

Big Settlement, Big Issues: Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Isn’t Over.

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Litigation

$20,000,000.00. That, as they say in the legal parlance, is a crooked number with a LOT of zeros behind it. And that is also the reported amount of settlement between Gretchen Carlson and Fox News over her sexual harassment lawsuit.  Plus an unprecedented apology.  And it doesn’t take into account other cases of harassment that… Continue Reading

Shoddy Harassment Investigation Can Still Lead to Liability, Court Rules

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Litigation

Welcome back from summer! Today, my colleague Gary Starr and I bring you the story of an employer that thought that it had done everything right — only to see it all go wrong.  Imagine this scenario: You, the employer, think you’ve taken all the right steps when hearing about a harassment complaint. You encourage… Continue Reading

How to Avoid Discrimination in Hiring, While Complying with Export Laws

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Laws and Regulations

My colleagues, Ashley Mendoza and Alfredo Fernandez, return today for a guest post today that shows that employment law issues can sometimes present themselves in different formats.  My thanks to the both of them in presenting a fairly advanced topic in a form that will hopefully be of interest to a few of you out… Continue Reading

New Model Rules Make It Unethical to Discriminate

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Laws and Regulations

As I have for over a decade now, I attended the American Bar Association’s Annual Meeting last week serving on the ABA’s House of Delegates – the organization’s main governing body.  My exact position is actually State Delegate — a position that nominally makes the lead delegate of Connecticut’s delegation, though in practice it’s much… Continue Reading

Unpaid Volunteers Are Not “Employees”, Says Court

Posted in CHRO & EEOC, Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Litigation

The CHRO is no stranger to taking aggressive positions in the court system. So, it can really be no surprise that the agency wanted to expand who is covered by the state’s anti-discrimination laws. But the Connecticut Supreme Court, as it has done before, was having none of it.  The end result of the case… Continue Reading