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Workplace Discrimination

Defending Workers from Discrimination

Workplace Discrimination


Discrimination based on certain characteristics was made illegal with the passage of several state and federal laws, beginning most notably with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII of the Act particularly affords significant protection. Title VII prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex (which includes pregnancy) and national origin.

Key Laws Prohibiting Discrimination

A multitude of state and federal laws have been established to protect workers from being discriminated against:

  • Race discrimination

State: The Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (CFEPA)

Federal: The Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII

  • Color discrimination

State: The Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (CFEPA)

Federal: The Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII

  • National Origin discrimination, Ancestry discrimination

State: The Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (CFEPA)

Federal: The Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII

  • Religious discrimination or Creed discrimination

State: The Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (CFEPA)

Federal: The Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII

  • Sex discrimination, Gender discrimination

State: The Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (CFEPA)

Federal: Title VII

              Equal Pay Act

              Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009

  • Pregnancy discrimination

State: The Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (CFEPA)

Federal: Title VII

              Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA).

  • Age discrimination

State: The Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (CFEPA)

Federal: Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)

             Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA)

  • Disability

State: The Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (CFEPA)

Federal: Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

              Rehabilitation Act

  • Military Service Discrimination

State: The Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (CFEPA)

Federal: Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA)

  • Genetic Information Discrimination

Federal: Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008

Fighting for Your Rights Our Employment Discrimination Attorneys Are There for You

If you have been the victim of illegal employment discrimination or think you may have been targeted on account of one of the impermissible bases, there are many laws that are on your side. Please contact us if you would like to discuss your situation.

You’re Covered Against Race Discrimination Under Federal & State Law 



Employers are prohibited under federal law, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and under Connecticut law, under the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act from discriminating on several bases. As an employee, you cannot be discriminated against by your employer on account of your race, ethnicity, color, or national origin. Discriminatory behavior on the part of your employer may show itself in one of several ways:


  • refusal to hire a person

  • failure to promote a person

  • treating an employee less favorably than others

  • offering an employee fewer job opportunities

  • paying the employee less than other employees doing the same job

  • or harassing the employee, including by the use of racial or ethnic slurs


The law also prohibits an employer from unintentional but systemic discrimination. This may show itself in the form of discriminatory policies or practices on the part of the employer. Often, such policies or practices treat minority employees differently, and more adversely, than white employees in the way they hire, promote, provide pay increases, terminations during layoffs, or in other conditions of the employment. Systemic violations may include in the way the employer engages in criminal background checks or promotional opportunities, treating minorities disproportionately worse.

You’re Covered Against Retaliation

Adverse employment actions are not to be taken against those who either attempt to, on their own behalf or on the behalf of others, be free from discrimination. Those who oppose impermissible discrimination are not to be retaliated against for such opposition.


Adverse employment actions include:

  • termination

  • demotion (potentially including diminution of duties, relocation)

  • refusal to promote

  • reduction in wages

  • or a reduction in scheduled work hours

Efforts to oppose discrimination, for which the law protects employees are:

  • Participation in or filing of an Equal Employment Opportunity charge, complaint, investigation, or lawsuit

  • Reporting or complaining to a supervisor about employment discrimination or harassment

  • Providing answers to an employer’s questioning in an investigation into alleged discrimination or harassment

  • Refusing to participate in an employer’s efforts to discriminate

  • Inquiring about the salary information of managers or co-workers in order to discover discriminatory practices as to pay differentials based on race


If you are experiencing racial discrimination at work, you may:

  1. Use your employer's complaint or grievance process, reporting the problem to attempt to get it resolved.

  2. File a complaint with the state or federal anti-discrimination agencies:


The Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities can be reached in Hartford:

            450 Columbus Boulevard

            Hartford, CT 06103-1835


Equal Employment Opportunity Commission:

            171 Bow Lane (AA Office - Cottage 20)

             P.O. Box 351, Middletown, CT 06457

You’re Covered Against Sex (Gender) Discrimination

Impermissible sex discrimination includes, and is prohibited under both federal and state law, discrimination based upon:

  • sex

  • sexual orientation

  • gender identity, including transgender status


Each of these are covered by the prohibition against discrimination “on the basis of sex.”


Both the federal law, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and state law, Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (CFEPA), prohibitions on sex discrimination pertain to actions taken as to:

  • hiring

  • firing

  • wages

  • schedules

  • training

  • layoffs

  • promotions

  • fringe benefits


Even if a policy or practice is not specifically targeting a specific sex, and applies to everyone, it can be impermissibly discriminatory if it impacts one sex more than another and is not necessary for the job. 


To make a sex discrimination claim, the following are required to be shown by the employee that the employee:

  1. Is in a protected class, based on the employee’s sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity

  2. Is performing the duties of the position successfully (or, if an applicant, is qualified for a position that the applicant applied for)

  3. Suffered an adverse employment action (e.g., was terminated, had hours cut, demoted, passed over for promotion, had hours or job duties cut)

  4. An employee who is not of the protected class (e.g., one who is of a different sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity) is treated more favorably (e.g., was not terminated, not denied promotion, hired, or scheduled for more hours.


If an employer takes an adverse action, the burden is on the employer, when an employee brings a sex discrimination claim, to present some evidence of a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for such action.

You’re Covered Against Pregnancy Discrimination

Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act was amended in 1978 by the passage of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. The Act added protections by expanding the definition of sex discrimination. The Act covers discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.


One of the most important protections is that an employer cannot refuse to employ a women of child-bearing age, or a pregnant woman, because of pregnancy or the possibility of pregnancy as long as she is able to perform the job’s major functions. Similarly, an employer may not terminate the woman on the same basis. Nor may an employer take other adverse actions to pay, assignment, promotions, training or other conditions of employment.


Further, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) requires employers to treat a pregnant worker no less favorably than a similarly impaired non-pregnant worker. That is, an employer who provides leave for temporarily disabled employees must provide the same to a pregnant worker. Benefits must be the same as well. Medical conditions must be covered in the same manner for both pregnancy-related expenses and other medical conditions. Similarly, medical leave benefits must be offered in the same manner. This pertains to the accrual of seniority time and vacation time.



(203) 903-7650

Contact us today for a free consultation.

Connecticut Office Address
By Appointment Only

Post Office Box 4124
Madison, Connecticut 06443


(203) 903-7650

New York Office Address
By Appointment Only

244 fifthe Avenue, Suite Q249
New York, NY 11598

Telephone: 917-587-8153

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