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Connecticut Mandatory Training Kit Connecticut Mandatory Training Kit Document Transcript

  • Training Kit Connecticut Mandatory Training Law Summary Does your learning make a difference?® 2675 Paces Ferry Road • Suite 470 Atlanta • Georgia 30339 Tel: 800.497.7654 • Fax: 770.319.7905 • www.eliinc.com
  • CONNECTICUT MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY Does the law apply to my organization? Connecticut requires organizations with 50 or more employees to provide two hours of sexual harassment prevention training to their supervisors and managers located in Connecticut. Additionally, new managers must receive sexual harassment training within six months of assuming a supervisory position. Training is required only one time, although further training at least every three years is recommended. What should the content of the training be? The training must include the following elements: • Federal and state provisions prohibiting sexual harassment in the workplace • The definition of sexual harassment under state law • The types of conduct that may constitute sexual harassment under the law, including that harassers and victims may be either male or female and that harassment can involve persons of either the same or opposite sex • The remedies available in sexual harassment cases, including, but not limited to, cease and desist orders, hiring, promotion or reinstatement, compensatory damages, and back pay • The fact that individuals who commit acts of sexual harassment may be subject to both civil and criminal penalties • Strategies to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace How will I deliver the training? After you have determined what your training will consist of, the next obstacle is to figure out how you will deliver the training to your managers and supervisors. The training may be deployed in the following ways: • Instructor-led training can be delivered by individuals employed by the organization or other persons who agree to provide the required training, with or without reimbursement. • Online training must provide a link so managers can ask questions and receive answers. • Webinars must provide a link so managers can ask questions and receive answers. How will I document the training? Employers are encouraged to maintain documentation of the following: the content of the training; the name, address, and qualifications of the trainer; the name and title of the individuals trained; and the date of training. Copyright © January 2009 • All Rights Reserved • Employment Learning Innovations, Inc. • Atlanta, GA
  • CONNECTICUT MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY Are there other considerations I should take into account? In many cases, organizations choose to provide sexual harassment training only for their managers in Connecticut, but this ignores federal law that encourages organizations to provide harassment training to everyone in the organization. By training all your managers, you create a consistent message and minimize risks. The second mistake organizations frequently make is providing harassment training only to managers and neglecting to train their employees. As mentioned earlier, federal law encourages organizations to provide harassment training to all employees. Copyright © January 2009 • All Rights Reserved • Employment Learning Innovations, Inc. • Atlanta, GA
  • CONNECTICUT MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY Frequently Asked Questions Do managers who are outside the state but manage employees in the state have to take mandatory training? There is no direct guidance under Connecticut law. Federal law, however, encourages organizations to provide harassment training to everyone in the organization. Are contractors of the company required to take the training? No, they are not. Are employees required to take the training? No, they are not. Federal law, however, encourages organizations to provide harassment training to all employees. How long after a manager is promoted does he/she have to attend training? The new manager/supervisor must take the training within six months of being promoted. How often is the mandatory training required, and how is this calculated? Training is required only one time, although further training at least every three years is recommended. How long must the training be? The training must be two hours of classroom or e-learning training. In the case of e-learning training, a link must be provided “for students to ask questions and obtain answers in a reasonably prompt manner.” Who can deliver the classroom training? Individuals employed by the employer or other persons who agree to provide the required training, with or without reimbursement. What kind of documentation is required for the classroom training? Employers are encouraged to maintain documentation of the following: the content of the training; the name, address, and qualifications of the trainer; the name and title of the individuals trained; and the date of training. Copyright © January 2009 • All Rights Reserved • Employment Learning Innovations, Inc. • Atlanta, GA
  • CONNECTICUT MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY Frequently Asked Questions (continued) What are the additional requirements for webinar/webcast training? Students must have the opportunity to ask questions and obtain answers in a relatively prompt manner. Who can deliver the webinar/webcast training? Individuals employed by the employer or other persons who agree to provide the required training, with or without reimbursement. What documentation is required for the webcast training? Employers are encouraged to maintain documentation of the following: the content of the training; the name, address, and qualifications of the trainer; the name and title of the individuals trained; and the date of training. What are the additional requirements for the online training? Students must have the opportunity to ask questions and obtain answers in a relatively prompt manner. What documentation is required for the online training? Employers are encouraged to maintain documentation of the following: the content of the training; the name, address, and qualifications of the trainer; the name and title of the individuals trained; and the date of training. What remedies exist for a failure to comply with the training requirement? Technically, violation of the law may result in an order issued by the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities to comply. In addition and as a practical matter, there are other consequences for failing to provide the required training: • Sends a message to the workforce that prevention of sexual harassment is not a priority • Discourages reporting of sexual harassment • Does not provide alternative avenues for complaint What are the protected categories in Connecticut? The Fair Employment Practices Act prohibits discrimination and retaliation of employees, applicants, and contractors based on the following: race, color, religious creed (including the requirement to accommodate religious beliefs), age, sex (including pregnancy and related medical conditions), marital status, national origin, ancestry, present or past history of mental disability, mental retardation, learning disability, physical disability, sexual orientation, and/or genetic information. Copyright © January 2009 • All Rights Reserved • Employment Learning Innovations, Inc. • Atlanta, GA
  • CONNECTICUT MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY How Can CT Impact®: Managing a Harassment-Free Workplace Help You Comply with Connecticut’s Mandatory Sexual Harassment Training Laws? CT Impact®: Managing a Harassment-Free Workplace is a two-hour program that gives managers specific skills and tools they can apply on the job to prevent, detect, and correct sexual harassment in the workplace. Available in online and classroom delivery formats, the course is designed to help organizations comply with state laws mandating training on sexual harassment prevention. Using an interactive, skills-based approach, it provides managers with information and practical guidance on federal and state harassment laws, remedies available to victims, and the roles and responsibilities of everyone to maintain a lawful, respectful work environment. The program is specifically designed to incorporate state legal information, which ELI® can provide to help organizations ensure compliance. The following overview describes the instructor-led program in more detail: Introduction (40 minutes) • Effectively communicating organizational policy • Organization’s anti-harassment policy • Where to report instances of sexual harassment • Roles and responsibilities of the organization, managers, and employees in preventing sexual harassment • Definition of sexual harassment • Types of sexual harassment (Quid Pro Quo, Hostile Work Environment) • Examples of sexual harassment • Federal and state laws prohibiting sexual harassment • Strategies to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace • Applicable federal and state cases Welcoming Concerns (40 minutes) • Creating a welcoming environment • Definition of the workplace environment • Review of same-sex harassment and application exercise • Review of third-party harassment and examples • Organization’s open door policy addressing avenues for employees to speak up about their concerns • Applicable federal and state cases Copyright © January 2009 • All Rights Reserved • Employment Learning Innovations, Inc. • Atlanta, GA
  • CONNECTICUT MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY How Can CT Impact®: Managing a Harassment-Free Workplace Help You Comply with Connecticut’s Mandatory Sexual Harassment Training Laws? (continued) Duty to Act (20 minutes) • Review of a manager’s duty to act and application exercise • Federal and state remedies available for sexual harassment • Overview of retaliation with examples • Organization’s anti-retaliation policy • Ways to prevent retaliation in the workplace • What to do if a supervisor is accused of harassment • Applicable federal and state cases Business Decisions (15 minutes) • Maintaining business relationships with employees • Romantic relationships in the workplace • Objective vs. subjective criteria • Performance management discussions • Applicable federal and state cases Concerns Resolved (5 minutes) • Tips for addressing inappropriate third-party behavior • Action planning activity Reference Materials • Federal and state laws preventing sexual harassment • Federal and state cases • Sample sexual harassment policy Copyright © January 2009 • All Rights Reserved • Employment Learning Innovations, Inc. • Atlanta, GA
  • CONNECTICUT MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY How Can Civil Treatment® for Managers Help You Comply with Connecticut’s Mandatory Sexual Harassment Training Laws? ELI’s Civil Treatment® for Managers program includes more than two hours of sexual harassment content and includes significant information about federal laws prohibiting harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. If supplemented with some specific information about Connecticut law provided in this toolkit in the form of a handout to be used in the classroom, it can help employers comply with this requirement. The following modules include content addressing the subjects required under the law: Introduction (45 minutes) • Introduction to the workplace environment and Prescriptive Rules® • Definition of harassment and discrimination • Risks of inappropriate behavior in the workplace “Some meeting...” (45 minutes) • Definition of sexual harassment • Necessary steps to take to prevent harassment in the workplace • Employer, manager, and employee responsibilities in minimizing risk of harassment • Review of organization’s anti-harassment policy and appropriate complaint procedure “What am I supposed to say?” (40 minutes) • Definition of sex-based discrimination • Definition and discussion of retaliation • How to handle a complaint that is filed against the manager or the organization “What’s on your mind?” (35 minutes) • Discussion of a manager’s Duty to Act • Managers should Get Help from Human Resources • Organizations have an obligation to investigate complaints of harassment and discrimination Copyright © January 2009 • All Rights Reserved • Employment Learning Innovations, Inc. • Atlanta, GA
  • CONNECTICUT MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY How Can Civil Treatment® for Managers Help You Comply with Connecticut’s Mandatory Sexual Harassment Training Laws? (continued) AD HOC MODULES These are optional modules that are included in the course materials and can be added to the Civil Treatment® for Managers program if desired: “Strictly business.” (20 minutes) • Risks of engaging in interoffice relationships • Actions managers should take if they believe a relationship may taint their objectivity • Preventing perceptions of bias and discrimination in decision-making In addition to covering the above modules, facilitators should also make sure to cover the following information in the handouts provided in this toolkit. • Review the Connecticut definition of sexual harassment. • Distribute and discuss the organization’s anti-harassment policy and complaint procedure. If the organization does not have a policy available, ELI® has provided a sample policy that can be used during the training session. This is typically covered during the “Some meeting…” module. • Discuss other forms of harassment and discrimination under both federal and Connecticut law. This is covered throughout Civil Treatment® for Managers, but a facilitator should also point participants to the federal and Connecticut comparison chart provided in this toolkit. • Review federal and Connecticut case law. Federal cases are throughout the Civil Treatment® for Managers program. Additional federal and Connecticut cases have been provided in this toolkit. • Discuss the remedies available for sexual harassment claims. This information is provided in the federal and Connecticut comparison chart. • Advise managers that individuals who commit acts of sexual harassment may be subject to both civil and criminal penalties. Copyright © January 2009 • All Rights Reserved • Employment Learning Innovations, Inc. • Atlanta, GA
  • CONNECTICUT MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY Federal and State Laws Prohibiting Harassment Overview Sexual harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a federal law. This statute prohibits harassment, discrimination, and retaliation based on sex, race, religion, national origin, and color. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which enforces the statute, defines sexual harassment1 as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other conduct of a sexual nature when the following occur: • Submitting to the conduct is explicitly or implicitly made a condition of employment • Submitting to or rejecting the conduct becomes the basis for decisions affecting an employee • Sexual conduct interferes with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment Many states, such as Connecticut and Maine, have adopted this definition of sexual harassment. However, California state law expands the federal categories of harassment to include the following2: • Verbal harassment, including epithets, derogatory comments, or slurs • Physical harassment, including assault, impeding or blocking movement, or any physical interference with normal work or movement, when directed at an individual • Visual harassment, including derogatory posters, cartoons, or drawings • Sexual favors, including unwanted sexual advances, which condition an employment benefit upon an exchange of sexual favors When an employee raises a complaint of sexual harassment or discrimination, managers should let the employee know how the complaint will be handled and that the process has limited confidentiality because other departments, such as Human Resources, may have to be involved. Human Resources or Employee Relations are typically involved because they handle investigations in most organizations. When an organization is made aware of potential harassment or discrimination, it has a responsibility to investigate the claim and take appropriate action. 1 29 C.F.R. §1604.11. 2 2 CCR 7287.6 Copyright © January 2009 • All Rights Reserved • Employment Learning Innovations, Inc. • Atlanta, GA
  • CONNECTICUT MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY Federal and State Laws Prohibiting Harassment: Connecticut Law Copyright © January 2009 • All Rights Reserved • Employment Learning Innovations, Inc. • Atlanta, GA
  • CONNECTICUT MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY Comparison of United States/Federal and Connecticut Laws CONNECTICUT UNITED STATES/FEDERAL Fair Employment Practices Act Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Prohibits discrimination and retaliation of employees, Prohibits discrimination and harassment of employees and applicants, and contractors based on: applicants based on: • race • race • color • color • religious creed (including the requirement to • sex accommodate religious beliefs) • religion (including the requirement to accommodate • age religious beliefs) • sex (including pregnancy, childbearing capacity, • national origin sterilization, fertility, and related medical conditions) • marital status • national origin Prohibits retaliation for exercising rights under the law • ancestry • present or past history of mental disability Enforcement: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission • mental retardation • learning disability Remedies Available: back pay, lost benefits, front pay, • physical disability compensatory and punitive damages of up to $300,000 per • sexual orientation occurrence of discrimination, and attorneys’ fees and costs. • genetic information The law also prohibits harassment based on sex, and defines sexual harassment as: any unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors or any conduct of a sexual nature when (A) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment, (B) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual, or (C) 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. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46a-60 (2003). Enforcement: Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities Remedies Available: cease and desist orders, reinstatement (or hiring or promotion), back pay, compensatory damages, and attorneys’ fees and costs. Courts have discretion in determining appropriate legal (damages) or equitable (injunctive) relief Potential criminal liability for assault and battery, infliction of emotional distress, etc. or civil penalties may also apply. Copyright © January 2009 • All Rights Reserved • Employment Learning Innovations, Inc. • Atlanta, GA
  • CONNECTICUT MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY Comparison of United States/Federal and Connecticut Laws CONNECTICUT UNITED STATES/FEDERAL Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) See Fair Employment Practices Act (R-10) Prohibits discrimination and harassment in employment The law entitles pregnant employees to certain specific based on pregnancy, childbirth and related medical benefits. Employers may not: conditions, and requires equal treatment of pregnant women for all purposes, including the provision of benefits. • refuse to allow a reasonable request for leave for See Title VII for available remedies. disability resulting from pregnancy • deny a disabled pregnant employee compensation to which she is entitled under leave or disability benefits • refuse to reinstate to an equivalent position with the same pay and benefits if the employee expresses an intent to return to work (unless the employer’s circumstances have made it impossible or unreasonable to reinstate the employee) • refuse to make a reasonable effort to provide a temporary transfer to a suitable position if continued employment may cause injury to the fetus or the employee Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) See Fair Employment Practices Act (R-10) Prohibits discrimination and harassment in employment The act prohibits discrimination and harassment against based on an actual or perceived disability, or having a someone with a physical disability, or someone who has a record (past history) of having a disability; a person is record of, or is regarded as having one or more mental disabled if he or she suffers from a physical or mental disorders. impairment that substantially limits a major life activity; the law requires reasonable accommodation to allow a The law does not expressly require accommodation of disabled employee to perform the essential functions of the disabilities but the Connecticut Commission on Human job. See Title VII for available remedies. Rights and Opportunities has interpreted it to include such a requirement. The courts have not yet decided on this issue. Copyright © January 2009 • All Rights Reserved • Employment Learning Innovations, Inc. • Atlanta, GA
  • CONNECTICUT MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY Comparison of United States/Federal and Connecticut Laws CONNECTICUT UNITED STATES/FEDERAL See Fair Employment Practices Act Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) Prohibits discrimination and harassment based on age. Prohibits discrimination and harassment based on age (40 and over). Remedies Available: back pay, front pay, lost benefits, liquidated damages equal to the amount of back pay, attorneys’ fees Equal Pay Act Equal Pay Act (EPA) Prohibits discrimination in compensation based on sex. Requires equal pay for men and women for equal work. Family and Medical Leave Coordination Law Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Requires employers to provide up to 16 weeks of unpaid Requires employers to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during a 24-month period for: leave during a 12-month period for: • birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child • birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child • care for child, parent, or spouse with a serious health • care for child, parent, or spouse with a serious health condition condition • the employee’s own serious health condition • the employee’s own serious health condition Leave may be taken intermittently or on a reduced work Leave may be taken intermittently or on a reduced work schedule. Employees must be reinstated to the same or a schedule. Employees must be reinstated to the same job at substantially similar job at the same pay after the leave is the same pay after the leave is over. over. Employees may elect or employers may require the Employees may elect or employers may require the substitution of available paid leave for FMLA leave. substitution of available paid leave. Copyright © January 2009 • All Rights Reserved • Employment Learning Innovations, Inc. • Atlanta, GA
  • CONNECTICUT MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY Sample Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Policy Discrimination This organization is an equal opportunity employer. The organization will not discriminate in regard to any term, condition, or privilege of employment against any employee or job applicant on the bases of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, or any other legally protected characteristic. Harassment The organization is committed to providing a work environment that is free from unlawful harassment. Harassment based upon an individual's race, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, or any other legally protected characteristics will not be tolerated. All employees, including supervisors and other management personnel, are expected and required to abide by this policy. Retaliation No person will be adversely affected in employment with the organization as a result of bringing a good faith complaint of unlawful harassment or discrimination, or participating in good faith in an investigation under this policy. Sexual Harassment Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. This behavior constitutes harassment when (1) submission to or rejection of such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment; (2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for decisions about employment, promotion, transfer, selection for training, performance evaluations, benefits, or other terms and conditions of employment; or (3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment or substantially interferes with an employee's work performance. This definition includes many forms of offensive behavior and includes gender-based harassment of a person of the same sex as the harasser. The following is a partial list of violations: • Unwanted sexual advances • Offering employment benefits in exchange for sexual favors • Threatening reprisals after a negative response to sexual advances • Leering, making sexual gestures, or displaying sexually suggestive objects, pictures, cartoon, or posters • Making or using derogatory comments, epithets, slurs, or jokes • Inappropriate touching or assault Copyright © January 2009 • All Rights Reserved • Employment Learning Innovations, Inc. • Atlanta, GA
  • CONNECTICUT MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY Sample Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Policy (continued) Reporting Procedure If an employee feels that he or she has been harassed on the basis of his or her race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or any other legally protected characteristic, the employee should immediately report the matter to his or her supervisor. Managers who receive a complaint of harassment or discrimination, or have reason to know that behavior which might constitute prohibited harassment or discrimination is occurring, must immediately report the matter to Human Resources and/or the EEO Office. If the employee’s supervisor is not available, or if the employee is uncomfortable speaking with his or her manager, the employee should immediately contact Human Resources and/or the EEO Office. Once the matter has been reported, it will be promptly investigated, and any necessary corrective action will be taken where appropriate. All complaints of unlawful harassment will be handled in as discreet and confidential a manner as is possible under the circumstances. The organization takes all allegations of harassment and discrimination seriously. Accordingly, if the organization finds an employee has knowingly and willingly filed a false claim of harassment or discrimination, the organization will take disciplinary action against the employee, up to and including termination. Copyright © January 2009 • All Rights Reserved • Employment Learning Innovations, Inc. • Atlanta, GA
  • CONNECTICUT MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY Federal Cases Supreme Court Establishes Affirmative Defense A lifeguard prevailed on her sexual harassment complaint against her employer even though she did not report the harassment. The lifeguard contended she was subjected to a sexually hostile work environment when her supervisors engaged in activities such as touching the lifeguard’s buttock, commenting on her shape, suggesting the lifeguard submit to a sexual relationship, and making other and numerous sexual comments. The Court recognized that an employer may avoid liability for sexual harassment that does not result in a tangible employment action if it can show that it exercised reasonable care to prevent and promptly correct sexually harassing behavior and that the employee failed to take advantage of any preventive or corrective opportunities provided by the employer. In this case, however, the Court found the employer had not exercised reasonable care to prevent the supervisor’s harassing conduct because it had not disseminated its sexual harassment policy to lifeguards, the policy did not provide a reporting mechanism to bypass the offending supervisors, and the employer failed to keep track of the conduct of its supervisors. Faragher v. City of Boca Raton, 118 S.Ct. 2275 (1998). A female salesperson resigned and sued her employer for sexual harassment. The plaintiff alleged that on three occasions a supervisor threatened to make her life harder if she did not succumb to his sexual advances. The plaintiff refused the supervisor’s advances, but the supervisor did not follow through on his threats. Although the plaintiff was aware of the company’s policy against sexual harassment, she did not report the harassment until three weeks after she resigned. The Court found that an employer can be liable for a hostile work environment where a supervisor makes explicit threats to alter a subordinate’s terms or conditions of employment, but does not fulfill the threats. However, as in the Faragher case, the Court found that such an employer may avoid liability if it can show that it exercised reasonable care to prevent and promptly correct sexually harassing behavior and that the employee failed to take advantage of any preventive or corrective opportunities provided by the employer. The Court remanded the case to the trial court for a determination as to whether the employer could avoid liability by proving the affirmative defense. Burlington Industries, Inc. v. Ellerth, 118 S.Ct. 2257 (1998). Copyright © January 2009 • All Rights Reserved • Employment Learning Innovations, Inc. • Atlanta, GA
  • CONNECTICUT MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY Federal Cases (continued) Sexual Harassment Case Results in Reasonable Woman Standard A woman who worked for the Internal Revenue Service alleged a co-worker sexually harassed her by repeatedly asking her out for lunch and writing her notes that she found shocking and frightening. In determining whether the co-worker’s conduct was sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the woman’s employment and create an abusive working environment, the Court determined that the co-worker’s conduct must be judged from the viewpoint of a reasonable third person who shares the same gender characteristic of the plaintiff – in this case, a reasonable woman. In establishing the “reasonable woman” standard, the Court recognized that there are differences between the sexes in how the co-worker’s conduct would be perceived. The Court found it most appropriate to view the conduct as would a reasonable person of the same gender of the plaintiff. Ellison v. Brady, 924 F.2d 872 (9th Cir. 1991). Copyright © January 2009 • All Rights Reserved • Employment Learning Innovations, Inc. • Atlanta, GA
  • CONNECTICUT MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY Federal Cases (continued) Jury Finds for Plaintiff in Hostile Work Environment Case A female school bus driver was sexually harassed by her male supervisor over a period of six months. In one instance, the supervisor handed her his pubic hairs. As a result of the harassment, the plaintiff suffered psychological problems for the next year and a half. The plaintiff brought a hostile environment sexual harassment lawsuit against the school district and her supervisor. A jury found that the plaintiff had been subjected to a sexually hostile work environment. The jury awarded the plaintiff $400,000 in compensatory damages and $32,500 in punitive damages. An appeals court later upheld the award. Sornia v. El Centro Elementary School, 2008 U.S. App. LEXIS 8345 (9th Cir. 2008). Female Employee Wins Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Lawsuit A female plaintiff was sexually harassed by her supervisor, an operations manager. The plaintiff alleges that at weekly work meetings the supervisor kissed her and asked her questions of a sexual nature. She also alleges that she was treated unfavorably after rejecting his advances. For example, she was denied days off, experienced delays in receiving her paycheck, and had her shift changed to a less desirable time. The plaintiff complained to her supervisor and an upper level manager. The upper level manager reportedly told her, “Do you want really to do this? Because you’re going to get [the supervisor] in trouble.” The plaintiff filed a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit against her employer. The jury found for the plaintiff and awarded her $3 million, which the court reduced to $850,000 due to statutory caps on certain kinds of damages. Alvarado v. Fed. Express Corp., 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21269 (N.D. Cal. 2008). Copyright © January 2009 • All Rights Reserved • Employment Learning Innovations, Inc. • Atlanta, GA
  • CONNECTICUT MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY Federal Cases (continued) Employer Found Liable for Harassment and Retaliation A female bar manager at a hotel was sexually harassed by her direct supervisor, who was the hotel’s general manager, throughout her employment. The sexual harassment included comments by the general manager about his and the plaintiff’s bodies, details of his sexual escapades with other women, and descriptions of his pornography collection. The general manager also touched and grabbed the plaintiff’s hips, genital area, and breasts. He even sexually propositioned her during work hours. The plaintiff eventually complained of sexual harassment to the owner/operator of the hotel, who did not investigate the complaint and took no action to stop the harassment. Finally, the general manager terminated the plaintiff’s employment on Christmas Eve because she would not succumb to his propositions. The plaintiff sued the hotel for a variety of reasons, including sexual harassment and retaliation. The court found that the employer was liable and awarded the plaintiff around $268,000 in damages and attorney’s fees. Merrifield v. Miner’s Inn Rest. & Lounge, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68841 (E.D. Cal. 2006). Police Officer Awarded Over $1 Million After Complaints Ignored A police officer in Puerto Rico was awarded more than $1 million by a federal jury based on her claims that she was subjected to sexual harassment, retaliation, and violation of due process. The officer claimed that she was sexually harassed by a fellow officer. Although her initial report stopped the harassment briefly, subsequent reports resulted in continued inappropriate conduct and retaliation, including reassignment to less favorable posts and threats of being laid off. The jury award included compensatory damages under federal law of $250,000 and compensatory damages under state law of $250,000, plus damages against the individual alleged harasser of $80,000. Under state law, the compensatory damages were doubled to raise the total amount to just over $1 million. The officer was also reinstated to her former position. The jury award was affirmed on appeal by the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Valentin-Almeya v. Municipality of Aguadilla, 447 F.3d 85 (1st Cir. 2006). Copyright © January 2009 • All Rights Reserved • Employment Learning Innovations, Inc. • Atlanta, GA
  • CONNECTICUT MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY Federal Cases (continued) Employer Retaliates Against Plaintiff for Participating in a Discrimination Claim A male police officer worked for the same department for over 30 years. At one point, he made a written complaint about numerous problems he perceived within the police department, including his allegation that coworkers were sexually harassing a female officer. Several years later, the female officer filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the police department. The plaintiff sent the female officer a copy of the written complaint he made about the harassment. The female officer then submitted the plaintiff’s complaint as evidence at a hearing held by the state commission investigating the lawsuit. Shortly after the hearing, the plaintiff was reassigned to a different position. The new position involved less compensation and no supervisory responsibility. The police department eventually placed the plaintiff on administrative leave. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit claiming that the police department retaliated against him because of his participation in an employment discrimination claim. The jury agreed and awarded him $300,000 for lost wages and emotional distress. McDonough v. City of Quincy, 452 F.3d 8 (1st Cir. 2006). Plaintiff Fired After Filing Sexual Harassment Claim Against Supervisor A female account manager at a consulting firm was repeatedly harassed by her male supervisor. For example, her supervisor invited her to his home and to join him on vacations. He also gave her jewelry, in violation of a company policy against such gifts. He spent excessive amounts of time in her office watching her work and once arranged an “urgent” early-morning meeting with her but then could not explain the reason for the meeting. The plaintiff complained to upper management about the harassment. The company launched an investigation, pursuant to which it contacted the supervisor. The supervisor then attempted to contact the plaintiff directly. The company eventually called a meeting between the plaintiff and her supervisor, as well as other employees, to discuss the plaintiff’s allegations. The plaintiff refused to attend a meeting with the supervisor, and the company terminated her employment for insubordination. The plaintiff brought a lawsuit against her employer claiming she was retaliated against because of her sexual harassment complaint. The jury found for the plaintiff on her retaliation claim and awarded her over $77,000. Pappas v. Watson Wyatt & Co., 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21996 (D. Conn. 2008). Copyright © January 2009 • All Rights Reserved • Employment Learning Innovations, Inc. • Atlanta, GA
  • CONNECTICUT MANDATORY TRAINING LAW SUMMARY Connecticut State Court Case Organization’s Response to Allegations Helps Avoid Penalties A female corrections officer failed to prevail against her employer on her state law claims of sexual harassment. The plaintiff alleged sexual harassment based upon the circulation of rumors that she was a lesbian and used to be a man. She contended such rumors prevented her from being able to perform her job duties. In response to her complaints, her employer investigated and confirmed the existence of the rumors but was unable to attribute the rumors to any particular employee. The employer created and announced a policy against sexual harassment and repeatedly offered to transfer the plaintiff to another unit of her choice. The plaintiff declined the transfer offers. The Court found in favor of the employer because it employed appropriate remedial measures. Brittell v. Dept. of Correction, 247 Conn. 148 (1998). Copyright © January 2009 • All Rights Reserved • Employment Learning Innovations, Inc. • Atlanta, GA