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Connecticut Civil Rights Laws

Many Americans like to think that discrimination doesn’t exist in the U.S. anymore. However, discrimination, racial or otherwise, is still alive and well in the country. Fortunately, federal and state civil rights laws exist to protect individuals from being discriminated against on the basis of being a member of some legally protected groups, including discrimination based on age, race, color, or gender. At least in some contexts, you can legally fight back to assert your rights.

Workplace Discrimination

Your civil rights may have been violated if you’re not hired, aren’t promoted, or are discriminated against in another way at work because of your:

  • Age
  • Race or color
  • National origin or ancestry, as well as genes
  • Religion
  • Sexual orientation
  • Marital status
  • Gender including your gender identity and if you’re pregnant or made a sexual harassment claim
  • Disability including physical, mental, learning, and intellectual
  • Criminal record (only for state employment and licensing)

Although Connecticut state law protects individuals from discrimination based on sexual orientation, federal law doesn’t currently.

Housing Discrimination

If you’re denied a rental, prevented from buying a home, or are evicted in Connecticut on the basis of any of the following characteristics, your rights may have been violated and you should consider filing a fair housing complaint:

  • Age
  • Race or color
  • National origin or ancestry
  • Religion
  • Gender or gender identity
  • Sexual orientation
  • Disability
  • Family status including if you have children or are pregnant or your marital status
  • Source of income meaning public assistance, social security, child support, or other forms of lawful income

Public Accommodations Discrimination

Public accommodations are places that serve the public, such as hotels, coffee shops, bus stops, laundromats, zoos, bowling alleys, and more. If a place of public accommodation won’t serve you for any of the reasons listed below, you may have a civil rights claim against them:

  • Age
  • Race or color
  • National origin or ancestry
  • Religion
  • Disability whether mental, intellectual, physical, or learning based
  • Gender or gender identity
  • Pregnancy or breastfeeding
  • Sexual orientation
  • Marital status

The following chart outlines some of the main employment, housing, and public accommodations civil rights laws in Connecticut, including how to make a complaint.

Code Section Connecticut General Statutes Section 46a-51 to 104: Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (CFEPA)
Agency The state agency that addresses civil rights complaints in Connecticut is the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO).

To make an employment complaint, contact the regional office that serves the town where the discrimination occurred, find it online or call 1-800-477-5737 for assistance. You can also call this main number about public accommodations complaints.

If the discrimination at work was for being a whistleblower, call 860-541-3452.

To file a fair housing complaint, call 860-541-3403
Administrative Preemption Yes, you must first follow the administrative complaint procedures before taking the civil rights case to civil court.
Private Action Permitted Yes, you often can sue in civil court for damages or financial losses you suffered because of the discrimination against you.
Attorney Fees Recoverable Yes, the court often is able to award attorney’s fees if you win your discrimination case.
Statute of Limitations The time you have to make a discrimination claim, known as the statute of limitations, is usually 180 days.

However, for violations of state agencies denying employment or denying a license or permit on the basis of your criminal record, you only get 30 days to make a claim, so immediate action on the situation is required.

If you want to learn more about your civil rights or need help making your claims, you should contact an experienced Connecticut civil rights lawyer.

Note: State and federal laws are revised frequently, so it’s important to conduct your own legal research or contact an attorney to verify these laws.

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