Feb 12 2018
Federal and Connecticut law prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of a number of inherent characteristics or traits, including age, race, color, sex (or gender), physical or mental disability, national origin, pregnancy, and religion. Connecticut law also prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity (including transgender status). Both federal and Connecticut law also prohibits retaliation for opposing or complaining about discrimination against a member of a protected class.
So, let’s say you are subjected to unlawful discrimination or retaliation at your workplace. What do you do next?
The first step should be to talk to an experienced employment lawyer, such as the discrimination and retaliation attorneys at Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald & Pirrotti. We may be able to resolve your employment dispute without the need for any adversarial filings, and we can represent you in the litigation process if there is not an early resolution.
Sometimes, though, a resolution is not possible or in your best interest. In that case, you have the right to file an administrative complaint of discrimination or retaliation. (The word “administrative” just means that it involves a government agency, rather than a court.)
Administrative claims can be filed with at least two different agencies. Alleged violations of Connecticut law are filed with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (or CHRO). Alleged violations of federal law, meanwhile, are filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (or EEOC). It often makes sense to file with both agencies, although that is something you should discuss with your lawyer.
Both the CHRO and the EEOC employ staff who can help you file a claim if you are not represented by a lawyer. You should not hesitate to contact them if you think your rights were violated. But be careful: In many situations, you only have 300 days from the date of the last discriminatory or retaliatory act to file your claims with the CHRO and to file with the EEOC. So do not delay in contacting the CHRO, the EEOC, or an experienced employment lawyer if you believe you were subjected to workplace discrimination, retaliation, or other wrongful treatment.
Be aware that, in general, claims of discrimination or retaliation must be filed with an administrative agency—either the CHRO or the EEOC—before they can be brought “in court.” And if you miss the deadline to file the administrative claim, you may be forever barred from having a judge or jury hear your case. So, do not wait until it is too late. If you believe you have an employment situation that could benefit from a lawyer’s perspective, contact the Connecticut employment lawyers at Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald & Pirrotti today.