Wrongful Termination and Workplace Harassment Attorney in Hartford, Connecticut
After all the progress that’s been made in the U.S. to protect workers from unfair and unwelcome treatment, it can sometimes feel disheartening to know there are still incidents of harassment in the workplace that have to be addressed. Even though major changes have occurred over the years, unfortunately harassment remains a concern for many at their jobs.
Luckily, there are both federal and state workplace harassment laws in place to help those who need it. If you’d like to discuss your harassment concerns with a reputable employment law attorney, contact me, James S. Brewer Attorney at Law. From my offices in Hartford, Connecticut, I’m able to represent clients throughout the region including New Haven and Bridgeport.
Harassment is a form of workplace discrimination and is against the law. Per the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), harassment is defined as any “unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, religion, sex (including sexual orientation, gender identity, or pregnancy), national origin, older age (beginning at age 40), disability, or genetic information (including family medical history).”
It should be noted that a single instance of harassment likely won’t meet the criteria under this law. In general, the harassment must be ongoing and intentional to have a case under federal statute. Additionally, to qualify as harassment under the law it must “create a work environment that would be intimidating, hostile, or offensive to reasonable people.”
There are many types of harassment that can happen, and all should be documented. This can include:
Inappropriate jokes or comments
Unwanted sexual advances
Being shown offense pictures or videos
Mocking or making fun of someone
Unwelcome treatment of any kind should be tolerated, and you can and should always report this to your human resources department and work with an employment lawyer when necessary.
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Who Can Be a Harasser?
It’s a common misconception that harassment can only happen from the top down (i.e., from someone in a position of power to a subordinate), but this is not the only case. There are many different people who can play the role of harasser.
Supervisor: Most commonly in cases like this, a person in power such as a boss or supervisor, will use their position of authority to harass those under them.
Coworker: Harassment can also come from a coworker who is in a comparable position to you.
Agent of the Employer: If someone is working for your employer such as a freelancer, payroll company, or bookkeeper they can also be held legally liable for harassment.
Non-Employee: Clients, customers, or vendors can also be held accountable for harassment under federal laws.
No matter their title, a harasser should not get away with it. Get in touch with our skilled employment law attorney today for support.
Laws Addressing Harassment
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act: This federal legislation of 1964 protects those in jobs with 15 or more employees from harassment if they’re part of a protected class (including race, color, national origin, sex, and religion) and this includes protection from sexual harassment.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act: This federal law specifically protects workers who are over the age of 40 from discrimination and harassment. This includes protections from firing, hiring, promoting, demoting, pay, or benefits based on the employee or applicant’s age.
The Americans with Disabilities Act: This act, passed in 1990, implemented widespread protections and resources for Americans living with a disability. In the workplace, this prohibits acts that create a hostile work environment for disabled workers or results in an unfavorable outcome (like being fired).
State Law: The Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (CFEPA) prohibits discrimination and harassment in the workplace. This law is largely modeled after the Civil Rights Act but expands protections by applying to any Connecticut employer with as few as one employee (whereas the federal law only applies to those with 15 or more employees). It also covers more classes of people including victims of domestic violence.
One of the biggest fears employees have about coming forward to their human resources department to report harassment is retaliation. Retaliation can happen on both a large and a small scale. For example, an employee may be fired or immediately demoted after reporting harassment, but it can also occur in more subtle ways like being transferred to a different department, not getting the kind of work assignments that you used to or being left out of workplace activities. However, both the Civil Rights Act as well as the CFEPA state that retaliation is prohibited for reporting harassment.
Workplace Harassment Attorney in Hartford, Connecticut
No one should have to suffer from harassment in the workplace and no one should be expected to handle this on their own. To properly address this kind of discrimination and ensure your rights are protected, the best thing you can do for yourself is contact an employment law attorney. When you call me, James S. Brewer Attorney at Law, you’ll gain a tenacious advocate who’s committed to using his experience to look out for your best interests. Contact me today for help in and around Hartford, Connecticut.