Sexual Harassment Policy in Connecticut

According to Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the Connecticut Discrimination Employment Practices Act, sexual harassment is illegal and prohibited. Sexual harassment is defined as “Any unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors or any conduct of a sexual nature.” Examples of this include unwelcome sexual advances, suggestive or lewd remarks, unwanted hugs, touches, kisses, requests for sexual favors, retaliation for complaining about sexual harassment, derogatory or pornographic posters, cartoons or drawings. Remedies for this egregious behavior include cease and desist orders, back pay, compensatory damages, hiring, promotion or reinstatement. It also states that individuals who engage in acts of sexual harassment may be subject to civil and criminal penalties.

An anonymous 2018 survey of 593 staffers, legislators, lobbyists and others who work at the state capitol found that more than one in five respondents have experienced unwanted sexual contact, uncomfortable phone calls or visits, and sexually provocative jokes and stories during the last five years. In approximately fifteen percent of these cases, a legislator was the perpetrator.

As a response to the current climate and the “Me Too” movement happening around the world, legislative leaders announced last January that they wanted to make the penalties for workplace harassment and assault policies increasingly stringent. In September 2018, new rules were instituted that puts the behavior of lawmakers under closer scrutiny, outlines new reporting procedures for victims, enhances the complaint process, increases training requirements for employees and lawmakers and extends these rules to all events and activities that are sponsored by the legislature.

Additional and alarming information gleaned from the survey is that fewer than one percent of victims filed a report and only six percent confronted the perpetrator to tell them to stop. Their reason, in the majority of cases, was fear of retaliation. The leaders of all four caucuses at the General Assembly including the Senate President Pro Tem, Senate Republican Leader, House Speaker and House Republican issued a joint statement stating that their “ . . . . . . goal is to provide a work environment where any form of harassment can be reported without fear of retaliation and all people are treated with dignity and respect, free from sexual harassment, both subtle and overt.”

Experiencing any form of sexual harassment or abuse can be terrifying for many reasons. Many individuals are unsure if what they have experienced is really sexual harassment. If you or a loved one believe that you have experienced any form of sexual harassment, it is vital to contact lawyers who have years of experience in handling and winning sexual harassment claims. The Reinken Law Firm know how to help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Call us! We know what to do and we are on your side.

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