The purpose of the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) is to eliminate discrimination through civil and human rights law enforcement, while establishing equal opportunity and justice for all within the state through advocacy and education.
At Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald & Pirrotti, P.C., we represent employees in CHRO cases throughout Connecticut. Our employment lawyers have been fighting for the rights of employees for decades and will provide representation at every stage of CHRO proceedings, such as administrative hearings, investigations, and appeals.
Who Does the CHRO Protect?
At Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald, & Pirrotti, P.C., we protect those involved in employment transactions. An employment transaction is recruiting, referring, terms and conditions of employment, hiring, classifying, training, promotion, advertising, discharge, laying off, and compensation. Employment transactions are headed by employers, employment agencies, and labor organizations. The discrimination of employment transactions is based on the protected areas of race, sex, age, physical or mental disability, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity. If you feel you have been discriminated against in these employment transactions our lawyers can help you.
Filing a Complaint with the CHRO
To file a complaint with the CHRO, strongly consider the assistance of an employment attorney. There are strict deadlines you must adhere to. If you miss them, you may not recover or proceed with further legal action against your employer.
Filing a claim with the CHRO is a prerequisite to filing a filing a lawsuit for employment discrimination or certain forms of retaliation in Connecticut Superior Court. Employees do not have immediate access to the Courts. Instead, you must exhaust administrative remedies by first filing in the CHRO.
CHRO complaints can be made against any public or private employer, labor organization, or employment agency with three or more employees. They must be filed within 180 days after the alleged act of discrimination took place, or 180 days after you learned of the event. These complaints must be in made in writing, reasonably understood, and under oath. Complaints must be filed in a Commission office before the 180-day deadline passes. If the discriminating employer has over 15 employees, and the complaint is not filed within the 180-day deadline, a complaint can still be made to the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) within 300 days of the discriminatory act.
For information on which office you should contact, click here.
After a complaint is filed, it is served to the respondent – the employee or employer being charged with discrimination. If the respondent doesn’t respond within 30 days, the complaint will be sent to a hearing to determine punishment or solution for the alleged discrimination.
Assessment & Mediation
Within 60 days of the respondent’s reply, the CHRO will conduct a Case Assessment Review (“CAR”). The CAR determines whether the complaint should be retained for further proceedings or dismissed. The CHRO’s retention of a complaint does not mean the CHRO believes that discrimination has occurred.
If the CHRO does not retain the complaint, it will be dismissed. If the complaint is dismissed, the claimant can pursue further legal action.
Complaints retained for further processing are assigned for mandatory mediation. A neutral mediator will attempt to bring the parties to a resolution. If a settlement is reached, the person who filed a complaint will sign a Withdrawal of Complaint. If a settlement is not reached, the CHRO will move forward with a full investigation or an Early Legal Intervention.
Anytime following a successful CAR, the employee may request a Release of Jurisdiction (“ROJ”). The ROJ allows the employee to bring their claims in State or Federal Court, depending on the claims raised. The employee MUST file their complaint in State or Federal Court within 90 days of receiving the ROJ. Again, missing these deadlines will affect your rights. At Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald & Pirrotti, P.C., our employment lawyers will guide you through the process every step of the way.
Investigation & Early Legal Intervention
If the CHRO determines a full investigation is needed, an investigator will be brought on to the case for 15 days. The goal is to have a neutral investigator gather evidence and information from both sides. Both the complainant and the respondent may have any evidence found during the investigation.
Aside from a full investigation, the CHRO can request an Early Legal Intervention, which will determine:
- If there is enough evidence for the case to go directly to a public hearing;
- If the complainant should be given a Release of Jurisdiction;
- If further investigation should be completed.
Let Our Employment Attorneys Help with Your CHRO Complaint
At Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald, & Pirrotti, P.C., we can deliver the experience and the expertise that employees need for their toughest fights; especially those who are interested in filing employment discrimination complaint with the CHRO. If you need legal guidance or representation in Connecticut, contact our employment lawyers today for a consultation.