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Sexual Harassment

Connecticut Sexual Harassment Lawyers

Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Connecticut state law. Title VII applies to employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments. It also applies to employment agencies and to labor organizations, as well as to the federal government. Connecticut law applies to employers with 3 or more employees.

Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual's employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual's work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.

Sexual harassment can occur in a variety of circumstances, including:

  • The victim as well as the harasser may be a woman or a man. The victim does not have to be of the opposite sex.
  • The harasser can be the victim's supervisor, an agent of the employer, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or a non-employee.
  • The victim does not have to be the person harassed, but could be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.
  • The victim does not need to incur economic injury or job termination to be the victim of sexual harassment. 

There are two types of sexual harassment: quid pro quo and hostile work environment. Quid pro quo refers to situations where employment decisions such as hiring, firing, promotions are contingent upon the employee providing sexual favors. Examples of quid pro quo sexual harassment are when a supervisor threatens to terminate an employee who refuses to submit to sexual advances or where a supervisor promises a bonus or promotion in exchange for sexual favors.

Hostile work environment sexual harassment refers to situations where the employee's work environment is made intimidating, hostile, of offensive because of unwelcome sexual conduct and that conduct interferes with the employee's work performance. Examples of hostile work environment sexual harassment including unwelcome sexual advances, sexual jokes, comments, and the displaying of sexually explicit material in the workplace.

It is helpful for the victim to inform the harasser directly that the conduct is unwelcome and must stop. The victim should use any employer complaint mechanism or grievance system available to complain of the sexual harassment.

It is unlawful to retaliate against an individual for reporting sexual harassment in the workplace.

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