Race/Sex/Religion Discrimination  Articles

Connecticut Recognizes Sexual Orientation Hostile Environment Claims

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            The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act covers hostile environment claims based on sexual orientation. Patino v. Birken Manufacturing Co., SC 18441 (May 15, 2012). This is an important development for gay and lesbian employees, as federal law does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

EEOC Issues Guidance on Use of Arrest and Conviction Records

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            On April 25, 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued its Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC also provided a Q+A document that provides a good overview of the more lengthy Guidance.

EEOC Rules Transgender Claims Covered under Title VII

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            The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently ruled that claims of transgender discrimination are covered under Title VII’s gender discrimination provisions. Macy v. Holder, EEOC Appeal No. 0120120821 (April 20, 2012). This brings federal anti-discrimination law in line with Connecticut’s Fair Employment Practices Act (CFEPA), which already prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression.

Connecticut Expands Anti-Discrimination Law to Include Gender Identity Bias

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            Effective October 1, 2011, the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (CFEPA) prohibits discrimination based on “gender identity or expression.”   “Gender Identity or expression” is defined as “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.” Gender related identity can be shown by providing evidence including, but not limited to, medical history, care or treatment of the gender related identity, consistent and uniform assertion of the gender related identity, or any other evidence that the gender related identity is sincerely held, part of a person’s core identity, or not being asserted for an improper purpose.

Employers Liable for Contractor’s Discriminatory Acts

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            The Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Connecticut, recently ruled that employers can be held directly liable for the discriminatory acts of contractors hired to perform certain tasks on their behalf. In Halpert v. Manhattan Apts., the court found a company that hired an independent contractor to conduct job interviews was liable for discriminatory remarks made by the contractor during the hiring process. While the case involved the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the court made it clear that the same principles apply under Title VII.


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