Here in Connecticut and across the nation, employees from all walks of life routinely face unlawful discriminatory practices and treatment in the workplace. Depending on the nature of the claim, he or she may file civil lawsuits under Title VII (which prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin) or the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (CFEPA).
However, employees need to keep in mind that before they seek recourse with the courts, they must first exhaust all of their administrative remedies. “The exhaustion requirement exists to afford the administrative agency the opportunity to investigate, mediate, and take remedial action.” Failure to do so will result in dismissal of the case (see, for example, this previously-discussed case).
CFEPA Title VII
Furthermore, employees must pay attention to statutory time restrictions for filing administrative charges under Title VII and CFEPA:
To sustain a claim for unlawful discrimination under Title VII in a deferral state such as Connecticut, a plaintiff must file administrative charges with the EEOC [Equal Employment Opportunities Commission] within 300 days of the alleged discriminatory acts. … CFEPA requires that a complainant file the administrative charge with the CCHRO [Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities] within 180 days of the alleged discriminatory act.
Courts are particularly cognizant of these requirements and endorse “strict adherence… [as] the best guarantee of the evenhanded administration of the law.” As a result, the time bar will begin running for each individual adverse employment action against the employee on the date it occurred. Failure to timely file a claim may prevent it from being reviewed by the EEOC or CCHRO.
However, employees often endure discriminatory practices over a prolonged period of time, so even if alleged conduct falls outside of the charging period, it may be reviewable. An important exception to strict adherence is the continuing violation exception, which involves incidents occurring both within and outside the time bar. A continuing violation occurs “where there is proof of specific ongoing discriminatory policies or practices, or where specific and related instances of discrimination are permitted by the employer to continue unremedied for so long as to amount to a discriminatory policy or practice.”
As an employee, it is imperative that you understand Connecticut’s statutory scheme surrounding hiring, evaluation, and termination processes, as well as the requirements for filing a lawsuit under State and federal anti-discrimination law. The attorneys at Maya Murphy, P.C., assist clients in Bridgeport, Darien, Fairfield, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford, and Westport.
If you have any questions regarding any employment law matter, please do not hesitate to contact Attorney Joseph C. Maya. He may be reached at Maya Murphy, P.C., 266 Post Road East, Westport, Connecticut (located in Fairfield County), by telephone at (203) 221-3100, or by email at JMaya@mayalaw.com.
 Stewart v. United States Immigration and Naturalization Service, 762 F.2d 193, 198 (2d. Cir. 1985).
 Flaherty v. Metromail Corp., 235 F.3d 133, 136 n.1 (2d Cir. 2000).
 Connecticut General Statutes § 46a-82e.
 Mohasco Corp. v. Silver, 447 U.S. 807, 826 (1980).
 Cornwell v. Robinson, 23 F.3d 694, 704 (2d Cir. 1994).