Connecticut, known as “The Nutmeg State,” has a population of just over 3.5 million, according to a 2008 estimate. CT was the third state admitted to the Union (in 1788) and is the third smallest state today by size. That said, Connecticut boasts an oversized role in US history. English settler Thomas Hooker founded the capital city of Hartford back in the 1630’s. Many crucial battles of the Revolutionary War and debates over the future U.S. Constitution played out in Connecticut.
Today, CT is home to a thriving maritime industry, thanks to the state’s long coastline along the Long Island Sound. Hartford is considered “the insurance capital of the world.” Other major CT cities, like Bridgeport, Danbury, and New Haven, serve as major industrial centers for New England. The southwestern corner of the state serves as a de facto “bedroom community” for many who work in New York City.
Connecticut’s employment discrimination agency is the Department of Labor. The mission of the DOL is to “protect and promote” Connecticut workers by providing them with good information, enforcing antidiscrimination laws, and delivering services to the community. The DOL operates 14 offices throughout the state to cater to the needs of displaced workers, unemployed job seekers, students, and others in need of career guidance, testing, or assessments. Employment discrimination, sexual harassment at the workplace, and other forms of retaliation and discrimination are prohibited by CT law.
In 2008, Connecticut legalized gay marriage, expanding the rights that gay couples had under Connecticut’s Civil Union laws. In the wake of this decision, numerous challenges have been brought against Connecticut businesses and institutions for discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation. These cases may have powerful impacts on how future sexual orientation discrimination claims will be handled nationwide.
Connecticut employees are also protected from other discriminative practices, including wage and hour violations, retaliation, and other forms of improper treatment. In most cases, wage and hour violations occur as a result of misclassification of employees. State and federal law says that all employees must be paid for the hours they work, plus overtime or time-and-a-half for any additional hours worked over 40 per week. However, there are exemptions that don’t require employers to pay salaried employees overtime if they meet certain criteria.
While the general rule is that employers can fire employees at any time under the at-will employment doctrine, Connecticut state law protects employees from being terminated for improper reasons or as a form of retaliation, which often results from filing a discrimination or harassment claim, worker’s compensation claim, failing to engage in illegal conduct, or supporting another employee’s claim against the employer. Forms of retaliation go far beyond wrongful termination, though.
Other common forms include demotion, pay reduction, denial of promotion, loss of benefits, job transfer, suspension, and any other unfair disciplinary action. If you believe you have been discriminated against or wrongly treated by your employer, it’s important to know you have rights. For help finding a local lawyer in your area, please click here.