Traliant Resources


Connecticut Equal Employment Opportunity


Please review the information below and then return to the workplace harassment prevention course tab. 

Harassment and discrimination based on a protected characteristic are prohibited under both federal and state law.  The federal government and most state governments have agencies that help employers and employees understand these legal requirements and ensure compliance with the laws.

Protected Characteristics

Harassment or discrimination based on any characteristic set forth below is prohibited in Connecticut.


  • race

  • color

  • national origin

  • sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation and gender identity)

  • gender expression

  • disability

  • genetic information (including family medical history)

  • religion

  • age (40 and older)


  • age

  • ancestry

  • color

  • gender identity or expression

  • learning or intellectual disability

  • marital or civil union status

  • national origin

  • mental or physical disability

  • pregnancy

  • race (including hair that is part of the cultural identification of an ethnic group or that is a physical characteristic of an ethnic group such as braids locks or twists)

  • religious creed

  • sex

  • sexual orientation

  • status as a veteran

  • in some circumstances, prior criminal record

Important Notes

In addition to the general protected characteristics listed above, some federal, state, and/or local laws also prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of other protected statuses in certain contexts, such as:

  • citizenship status or work authorization status,

  • emergency volunteer status,

  • family relationship with a co-worker, and/or

  • status based on information contained in criminal, background, or credit reports, or being subject to wage garnishments.


Likewise, some federal, state, and/or local laws prohibit discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation for exercising certain legal rights such as:

  • participating in collective bargaining or union activities,

  • serving as a whistleblower pursuant to whistleblower laws,

  • filing a worker’s compensation or unemployment claim,

  • taking protected time off or protected leave,

  • engaging in certain off-duty activities.

Finally, under federal law and some state and/or local laws, employers may not limit or prohibit employees from using any languages in the workplace unless there is a business necessity for the restriction.

Note also that some federal, state, and/or local laws provide additional, separate standards and remedies for certain prohibited conduct, such as laws addressing equal pay without regard to sex or other protected category or specifically addressing sexual harassment prevention measures.

Applicable Laws


The primary federal laws that prohibit employment discrimination include Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, The Age Discrimination in Employment ActThe Americans With Disabilities ActThe Equal Pay ActThe Uniformed Services and Employment and Reemployment ActThe Immigration and Nationality Act, and The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act.

The U.S. Supreme Court held that Title VII protects individuals from employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, No. 17-1618 (U.S. June 15, 2020).


The primary state law prohibiting employment discrimination, including harassment, is the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act.

Definition of Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is illegal and is prohibited by the Connecticut Discrimination Employment Practices Act and federal law (Title VII).

Sexual harassment is defined in Conn. Gen. Stat. §46a-60(b)(8) as any unwelcome sexual advances or request for sexual favors or any conduct of a sexual nature when:

  • submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or
    condition of an individual’s employment (quid pro quo harassment);

  • submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis
    for employment decisions affecting such individual (quid pro quo harassment); or

  • such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment (hostile work environment).

Sexual harassment can happen to anyone, regardless of the gender of either the harasser or the person harassed. Harassment can occur involving persons of the same or opposite sex

Employees, interns, temporary workers and visitors to places of public accommodations are all protected by sexual harassment laws. Anyone in a workplace could be a sexual harasser, from supervisors and coworkers to vendors and visitors.

Sexual harassment does not have to occur in the workplace for it to be illegal. For example, it can be at an off-site office holiday party or at a happy hour. It also does not have to take place face-to-face, but can occur on social media or through text messages.

Examples of Sexual Harassment

Examples of quid pro quo sexual harassment include the following:

  • You are offered a job or promotion in return for sexual favors

  • Your supervisor threatens to cut your hours if you won’t date him or her

  • You are offered a better schedule or a raise if you send your boss nude pictures

  • Your boss threatens you with a poor performance review if you don’t go out to dinner with him or her

Examples of hostile work environment sexual harassment include the following:

  • People at work talk about sex all day

  • There are posters of scantily dressed models in the workplace

  • People comment about other employees’ bodies

  • Someone at work touches you without your consent

SourceCHRO Written Materials: What is sexual harassment?

Retaliation Prohibited

Employer retaliation against an employee who files a discrimination or harassment complaint or is involved in the complaint process is unlawful.

How to File a Complaint in Connecticut

Employees may file formal complaints of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation with the agencies listed below. If you wish to pursue filing with these agencies, you should contact them directly to obtain further information about their processes and time limits.

Connecticut Human Rights Office

An employment discrimination or harassment claim may be filed with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) within 300 days of the date of alleged discrimination or harassment.  You can contact the CHRO as follows:

Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities
450 Columbus Boulevard
Hartford, CT 06103-1835
Phone: 860-541-3400
Connecticut Toll-Free: 1-800-477-5737 | TDD: 860-541-3400

More information about filing a claim with the CHRO can be found here.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

An employment discrimination or harassment claim against an employer with at least 15 employees may be filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). You may file a complaint with the Commission within 300 days of the date of alleged discrimination or harassment. To file a charge, call the EEOC or visit them online:

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
1-800-669-6820 (TTY for Deaf/Hard of Hearing callers only)
1-844-234-5122 (ASL Video Phone for Deaf/Hard of Hearing callers only)

More information about filing a claim with the EEOC can be found here.

The EEOC District Office for Maine is as follows:

Boston EEOC District Office 
John F. Kennedy Federal Building 
Government Center, 4th Floor, Room 475 
Boston, MA 02203 
Phone: (617) 565-3200 
TTY: (617) 565-3204

Remedies for Unlawful
Harassment or Discrimination

Remedies include: Cease and desist orders, back pay, compensatory damages, hiring, promotion, or reinstatement.


Individuals who engage in acts of sexual harassment may also be subject to civil and criminal penalties.

The information contained on this page is for informational purposes only.
It does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.