State Laws Against Employment Discrimination

HR & Safety

The Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religious creed, age, sex, gender identity or expression, marital status, national origin, ancestry, past or present history of mental disability, intellectual disability, learning disability, physical disability, genetic information, pregnancy, veteran status, or status as a victim of domestic violence. 

Discriminatory employment practices can occur at any stage of employment. 

From job post advertising to termination of employment, employers should ensure they treat applicants and employees equally. 

Additionally, the Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair Act expands the definition of race to include ethnic traits, such as hair style and texture. Examples of protective hairstyles are wigs, headwraps, individual braids, cornrows, locs, twists, Bantu knots, afros, and afro puffs. 

Employers should review their handbooks to ensure that their grooming requirements are inclusive to all individuals. 

As of Oct. 1, 2022,  Connecticut laws cover all public and private employers that employ one or more individuals. 

The Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities is responsible for administering and enforcing these laws. 

Federal Laws Against Employment Discrimination

Numerous federal laws contain similar protections against employment discrimination. 

These include:

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation and gender identity, pregnancy, or national origin;
  • Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA), which protects men and women who perform substantially equal work in the same establishment from sex-based wage discrimination;
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), which protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older;
  • Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), which prohibits employment discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in the private sector, and in state and local governments;
  • Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities who work in the federal government;
  • Civil Rights Act of 1991, which provides monetary damages in cases of intentional employment discrimination;
  • Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA), which prohibits employment discrimination against employees or applicants because of genetic information about themselves or an individual’s family members. 

Most of the federal laws apply to employers with 15 or more employees, and both state and federal remedies will often be available to an employee.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforces the federal laws but will usually defer to the CHRO for the investigation if a discrimination claim alleges violations of both state and federal laws.

EEOC also provides oversight of all federal equal employment opportunity regulations, practices, and policies.

EEO-1 Can Be Filed Online

Employers who file an annual EEO-1 with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission can now submit the reporting form online.

The form, which calls for a workforce breakdown by job category and by race, sex, and ethnicity, must be filed by employers with 100 or more employees, and by certain federal government contractors with 50 or more employees.


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