While some states use the federal Title VII laws to deal with sexual discrimination in the workplace, Connecticut Sexual Discrimination Law in the Workplace follows a state law – Chapter 814c. This law makes in illegal for employers and labor organizations to discriminate against its employees on the basis of gender.
Chapter 814c also includes sexual harassment when sexual advances or requests are made in regards to the conditions of employment, when such advances or requests interfere with the employee’s job performance, or when such advances or requests create a hostile or otherwise unsuitable working environment.
Additionally, Chapter 814c protects employees from having to divulge information about their child-bearing plans, pregnancy and familial responsibilities unless the job gives direct exposure to substances which may cause birth defects or hazards to reproductive systems.
Chapter 814c is stricter than the federal law because it applies to all employers who have three or more employees whereas the federal law only applies to those employers who have fifteen or more employees. An “employer” under this law is “any person or employer who has more than 3 employees.”
Under this law, an employee is anyone who is employed under an employer as defined above, except for those employed by their parents, spouses or children and those in domestic service.
If you feel you’ve been a victim of sexual discrimination in the workplace, you need to contact the Connecticut Commission. All complaints must be filed within 180 days of the alleged discriminatory act by visiting a regional office.
The first thing the Commission will do is send a letter and a copy of your complaint to your employer and will give your employer a chance to respond to the complaint. Then, an investigator will determine if there is reasonable cause to believe there was in fact discrimination. From there, the complaint enters the settlement phase. If these fail, there will be a public hearing.
If you choose to go through the state or federal courts instead of the Connecticut Commission, you must file a request for a “Notice of Right to Sue” with either the EEOC or the Connecticut Commission.
Employers and employees are both responsible for knowing their rights and responsibilities within the law to keep the workplace safe for everyone. It is recommended that all employers keep their Connecticut Labor Law poster up-to-date.