Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

File No. 91

    February Session, 2016

Substitute Senate Bill No. 197

Senate, March 21, 2016

The Committee on Veterans' Affairs reported through SEN. FLEXER of the 29th Dist., Chairperson of the Committee on the part of the Senate, that the substitute bill ought to pass.

AN ACT CONCERNING VETERANS, DISCRIMINATORY PRACTICES AND ORDERS OF THE COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND OPPORTUNITIES IN EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION CASES.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 46a-58 of the 2016 supplement to the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2016):

(a) It shall be a discriminatory practice in violation of this section for any person to subject, or cause to be subjected, any other person to the deprivation of any rights, privileges or immunities, secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of this state or of the United States, on account of religion, national origin, alienage, color, race, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, blindness, mental disability, [or] physical disability or status as a veteran, as defined in subsection (a) of section 27-103.

(b) Any person who intentionally desecrates any public property, monument or structure, or any religious object, symbol or house of religious worship, or any cemetery, or any private structure not owned by such person, shall be in violation of subsection (a) of this section. For the purposes of this subsection, "desecrate" means to mar, deface or damage as a demonstration of irreverence or contempt.

(c) Any person who places a burning cross or a simulation thereof on any public property, or on any private property without the written consent of the owner, shall be in violation of subsection (a) of this section.

(d) Any person who places a noose or a simulation thereof on any public property, or on any private property without the written consent of the owner, and with intent to intimidate or harass any other person on account of religion, national origin, alienage, color, race, sex, sexual orientation, blindness, [or] physical disability or status as a veteran, as defined in subsection (a) of section 27-103, shall be in violation of subsection (a) of this section.

(e) Any person who violates any provision of this section shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor, except that if property is damaged as a consequence of such violation in an amount in excess of one thousand dollars, such person shall be guilty of a class D felony.

Sec. 2. Section 46a-59 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2016):

(a) It shall be a discriminatory practice in violation of this section for any association, board or other organization the principal purpose of which is the furtherance of the professional or occupational interests of its members, whose profession, trade or occupation requires a state license, to refuse to accept a person as a member of such association, board or organization because of his race, national origin, creed, sex, gender identity or expression, [or] color or status as a veteran, as defined in subsection (a) of section 27-103.

(b) Any association, board or other organization which violates the provisions of this section shall be fined not less than one hundred dollars nor more than five hundred dollars.

Sec. 3. Subdivisions (1) to (6), inclusive, of subsection (a) of section 46a-60 of the general statutes are repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2016):

(1) For an employer, by the employer or the employer's agent, except in the case of a bona fide occupational qualification or need, to refuse to hire or employ or to bar or to discharge from employment any individual or to discriminate against such individual in compensation or in terms, conditions or privileges of employment because of the individual's race, color, religious creed, age, sex, gender identity or expression, marital status, national origin, ancestry, present or past history of mental disability, intellectual disability, learning disability, [or] physical disability, including, but not limited to, blindness, or status as a veteran, as defined in subsection (a) of section 27-103;

(2) For any employment agency, except in the case of a bona fide occupational qualification or need, to fail or refuse to classify properly or refer for employment or otherwise to discriminate against any individual because of such individual's race, color, religious creed, age, sex, gender identity or expression, marital status, national origin, ancestry, present or past history of mental disability, intellectual disability, learning disability, [or] physical disability, including, but not limited to, blindness, or status as a veteran, as defined in subsection (a) of section 27-103;

(3) For a labor organization, because of the race, color, religious creed, age, sex, gender identity or expression, marital status, national origin, ancestry, present or past history of mental disability, intellectual disability, learning disability, [or] physical disability, including, but not limited to, blindness, or status as a veteran, as defined in subsection (a) of section 27-103, of any individual to exclude from full membership rights or to expel from its membership such individual or to discriminate in any way against any of its members or against any employer or any individual employed by an employer, unless such action is based on a bona fide occupational qualification;

(4) For any person, employer, labor organization or employment agency to discharge, expel or otherwise discriminate against any person because such person has opposed any discriminatory employment practice or because such person has filed a complaint or testified or assisted in any proceeding under section 46a-82, 46a-83 or 46a-84;

(5) For any person, whether an employer or an employee or not, to aid, abet, incite, compel or coerce the doing of any act declared to be a discriminatory employment practice or to attempt to do so;

(6) For any person, employer, employment agency or labor organization, except in the case of a bona fide occupational qualification or need, to advertise employment opportunities in such a manner as to restrict such employment so as to discriminate against individuals because of their race, color, religious creed, age, sex, gender identity or expression, marital status, national origin, ancestry, present or past history of mental disability, intellectual disability, learning disability, [or] physical disability, including, but not limited to, blindness, or status as a veteran, as defined in subsection (a) of section 27-103;

Sec. 4. Subsection (a) of section 46a-64 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2016):

(a) It shall be a discriminatory practice in violation of this section: (1) To deny any person within the jurisdiction of this state full and equal accommodations in any place of public accommodation, resort or amusement because of race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, gender identity or expression, marital status, age, lawful source of income, intellectual disability, mental disability, [or] physical disability, including, but not limited to, blindness or deafness, or status as a veteran, as defined in subsection (a) of section 27-103, of the applicant, subject only to the conditions and limitations established by law and applicable alike to all persons; (2) to discriminate, segregate or separate on account of race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, gender identity or expression, marital status, age, lawful source of income, intellectual disability, mental disability, learning disability, [or] physical disability, including, but not limited to, blindness or deafness, or status as a veteran, as defined in subsection (a) of section 27-103; (3) for a place of public accommodation, resort or amusement to restrict or limit the right of a mother to breast-feed her child; (4) for a place of public accommodation, resort or amusement to fail or refuse to post a notice, in a conspicuous place, that any blind, deaf or mobility impaired person, accompanied by his guide dog wearing a harness or an orange-colored leash and collar, may enter such premises or facilities; or (5) to deny any blind, deaf or mobility impaired person or any person training a dog as a guide dog for a blind person or a dog to assist a deaf or mobility impaired person, accompanied by his guide dog or assistance dog, full and equal access to any place of public accommodation, resort or amusement. Any blind, deaf or mobility impaired person or any person training a dog as a guide dog for a blind person or a dog to assist a deaf or mobility impaired person may keep his guide dog or assistance dog with him at all times in such place of public accommodation, resort or amusement at no extra charge, provided the dog wears a harness or an orange-colored leash and collar and is in the direct custody of such person. The blind, deaf or mobility impaired person or person training a dog as a guide dog for a blind person or a dog to assist a deaf or mobility impaired person shall be liable for any damage done to the premises or facilities by his dog. For purposes of this subdivision, "guide dog" or "assistance dog" includes a dog being trained as a guide dog or assistance dog and "person training a dog as a guide dog for a blind person or a dog to assist a deaf or mobility impaired person" means a person who is employed by and authorized to engage in designated training activities by a guide dog organization or assistance dog organization that complies with the criteria for membership in a professional association of guide dog or assistance dog schools and who carries photographic identification indicating such employment and authorization.

Sec. 5. Section 46a-64c of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2016):

(a) It shall be a discriminatory practice in violation of this section:

(1) To refuse to sell or rent after the making of a bona fide offer, or to refuse to negotiate for the sale or rental of, or otherwise make unavailable or deny, a dwelling to any person because of race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, gender identity or expression, marital status, age, lawful source of income, [or] familial status or status as a veteran, as defined in subsection (a) of section 27-103.

(2) To discriminate against any person in the terms, conditions, or privileges of sale or rental of a dwelling, or in the provision of services or facilities in connection therewith, because of race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, gender identity or expression, marital status, age, lawful source of income, [or] familial status or status as a veteran, as defined in subsection (a) of section 27-103.

(3) To make, print or publish, or cause to be made, printed or published any notice, statement, or advertisement, with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling that indicates any preference, limitation, or discrimination based on race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, gender identity or expression, marital status, age, lawful source of income, familial status, learning disability, [or] physical or mental disability or status as a veteran, as defined in subsection (a) of section 27-103, or an intention to make any such preference, limitation or discrimination.

(4) (A) To represent to any person because of race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, gender identity or expression, marital status, age, lawful source of income, familial status, learning disability, [or] physical or mental disability or status as a veteran, as defined in subsection (a) of section 27-103, that any dwelling is not available for inspection, sale or rental when such dwelling is in fact so available.

(B) It shall be a violation of this subdivision for any person to restrict or attempt to restrict the choices of any buyer or renter to purchase or rent a dwelling (i) to an area which is substantially populated, even if less than a majority, by persons of the same protected class as the buyer or renter, (ii) while such person is authorized to offer for sale or rent another dwelling which meets the housing criteria as expressed by the buyer or renter to such person, and (iii) such other dwelling is in an area which is not substantially populated by persons of the same protected class as the buyer or renter. As used in this subdivision, "area" means municipality, neighborhood or other geographic subdivision which may include an apartment or condominium complex; and "protected class" means race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, gender identity or expression, marital status, age, lawful source of income, familial status, learning disability, [or] physical or mental disability or status as a veteran, as defined in subsection (a) of section 27-103.

(5) For profit, to induce or attempt to induce any person to sell or rent any dwelling by representations regarding the entry or prospective entry into the neighborhood of a person or persons of a particular race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, gender identity or expression, marital status, age, lawful source of income, familial status, learning disability, [or] physical or mental disability or status as a veteran, as defined in subsection (a) of section 27-103.

(6) (A) To discriminate in the sale or rental, or to otherwise make unavailable or deny, a dwelling to any buyer or renter because of a learning disability or physical or mental disability of: (i) Such buyer or renter; (ii) a person residing in or intending to reside in such dwelling after it is so sold, rented, or made available; or (iii) any person associated with such buyer or renter.

(B) To discriminate against any person in the terms, conditions or privileges of sale or rental of a dwelling, or in the provision of services or facilities in connection with such dwelling, because of a learning disability or physical or mental disability of: (i) Such person; or (ii) a person residing in or intending to reside in such dwelling after it is so sold, rented, or made available; or (iii) any person associated with such person.

(C) For purposes of this subdivision, discrimination includes: (i) A refusal to permit, at the expense of a person with a physical or mental disability, reasonable modifications of existing premises occupied or to be occupied by such person if such modifications may be necessary to afford such person full enjoyment of the premises; except that, in the case of a rental, the landlord may, where it is reasonable to do so, condition permission for a modification on the renter agreeing to restore the interior of the premises to the condition that existed before the modification, reasonable wear and tear excepted; (ii) a refusal to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices or services, when such accommodations may be necessary to afford such person equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling; (iii) in connection with the design and construction of covered multifamily dwellings for the first occupancy after March 13, 1991, a failure to design and construct those dwellings in such manner that they comply with the requirements of Section 804(f) of the Fair Housing Act or the provisions of the state building code as adopted pursuant to the provisions of sections 29-269 and 29-273, whichever requires greater accommodation. "Covered multifamily dwellings" means buildings consisting of four or more units if such buildings have one or more elevators, and ground floor units in other buildings consisting of four or more units.

(7) For any person or other entity engaging in residential real-estate-related transactions to discriminate against any person in making available such a transaction, or in the terms or conditions of such a transaction, because of race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, gender identity or expression, marital status, age, lawful source of income, familial status, learning disability, [or] physical or mental disability or status as a veteran, as defined in subsection (a) of section 27-103.

(8) To deny any person access to or membership or participation in any multiple-listing service, real estate brokers' organization or other service, organization, or facility relating to the business of selling or renting dwellings, or to discriminate against him in the terms or conditions of such access, membership or participation, on account of race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, gender identity or expression, marital status, age, lawful source of income, familial status, learning disability, [or] physical or mental disability or status as a veteran, as defined in subsection (a) of section 27-103.

(9) To coerce, intimidate, threaten, or interfere with any person in the exercise or enjoyment of, or on account of his having exercised or enjoyed, or on account of his having aided or encouraged any other person in the exercise or enjoyment of, any right granted or protected by this section.

(b) (1) The provisions of this section shall not apply to (A) the rental of a room or rooms in a single-family dwelling unit if the owner actually maintains and occupies part of such living quarters as his residence or (B) a unit in a dwelling containing living quarters occupied or intended to be occupied by no more than two families living independently of each other, if the owner actually maintains and occupies the other such living quarters as his residence. (2) The provisions of this section with respect to the prohibition of discrimination on the basis of marital status shall not be construed to prohibit the denial of a dwelling to a man or a woman who are both unrelated by blood and not married to each other. (3) The provisions of this section with respect to the prohibition of discrimination on the basis of age shall not apply to minors, to special discount or other public or private programs to assist persons sixty years of age and older or to housing for older persons as defined in section 46a-64b, provided there is no discrimination on the basis of age among older persons eligible for such housing. (4) The provisions of this section with respect to the prohibition of discrimination on the basis of familial status shall not apply to housing for older persons as defined in section 46a-64b or to a unit in a dwelling containing units for no more than four families living independently of each other, if the owner of such dwelling resides in one of the units. (5) The provisions of this section with respect to the prohibition of discrimination on the basis of lawful source of income shall not prohibit the denial of full and equal accommodations solely on the basis of insufficient income. (6) The provisions of this section with respect to the prohibition of discrimination on the basis of sex shall not apply to the rental of sleeping accommodations to the extent they utilize shared bathroom facilities when such sleeping accommodations are provided by associations and organizations which rent such sleeping accommodations on a temporary or permanent basis for the exclusive use of persons of the same sex based on considerations of privacy and modesty.

(c) Nothing in this section limits the applicability of any reasonable state statute or municipal ordinance restricting the maximum number of persons permitted to occupy a dwelling.

(d) Nothing in this section or section 46a-64b shall be construed to invalidate or limit any state statute or municipal ordinance that requires dwellings to be designed and constructed in a manner that affords persons with physical or mental disabilities greater access than is required by this section or section 46a-64b.

(e) Nothing in this section prohibits a person engaged in the business of furnishing appraisals of real property to take into consideration factors other than race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, gender identity or expression, marital status, age, lawful source of income, familial status, learning disability, [or] physical or mental disability or status as a veteran, as defined in subsection (a) of section 27-103.

(f) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, complaints alleging a violation of this section shall be investigated within one hundred days of filing and a final administrative disposition shall be made within one year of filing unless it is impracticable to do so. If the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities is unable to complete its investigation or make a final administrative determination within such time frames, it shall notify the complainant and the respondent in writing of the reasons for not doing so.

(g) Any person who violates any provision of this section shall be guilty of a class D misdemeanor.

Sec. 6. Section 46a-66 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2016):

(a) It shall be a discriminatory practice in violation of this section for any creditor to discriminate on the basis of sex, gender identity or expression, age, race, color, religious creed, national origin, ancestry, marital status, intellectual disability, learning disability, blindness, [or] physical disability or status as a veteran, as defined in subsection (a) of section 27-103, against any person eighteen years of age or over in any credit transaction.

(b) No liability may be imposed under this section for an act done or omitted in conformity with a regulation or declaratory ruling of the Banking Commissioner, the Federal Reserve Board or any other governmental agency having jurisdiction under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, notwithstanding that after the act or omission the regulation or declaratory ruling may be amended, repealed or determined to be invalid for any reason.

Sec. 7. Section 46a-70 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2016):

(a) State officials and supervisory personnel shall recruit, appoint, assign, train, evaluate and promote state personnel on the basis of merit and qualifications, without regard for race, color, religious creed, sex, gender identity or expression, marital status, age, national origin, ancestry, intellectual disability, mental disability, learning disability, [or] physical disability, including, but not limited to, blindness, or status as a veteran, as defined in subsection (a) of section 27-103, unless it is shown by such state officials or supervisory personnel that such disability prevents performance of the work involved.

(b) All state agencies shall promulgate written directives to carry out this policy and to guarantee equal employment opportunities at all levels of state government. They shall regularly review their personnel practices to assure compliance.

(c) All state agencies shall conduct continuing orientation and training programs with emphasis on human relations and nondiscriminatory employment practices.

(d) The Commissioner of Administrative Services shall insure that the entire examination process, including qualifications appraisal, is free from bias.

(e) Appointing authorities shall exercise care to insure utilization of minority group persons.

Sec. 8. Section 46a-71 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2016):

(a) All services of every state agency shall be performed without discrimination based upon race, color, religious creed, sex, gender identity or expression, marital status, age, national origin, ancestry, intellectual disability, mental disability, learning disability, [or] physical disability, including, but not limited to, blindness, or status as a veteran, as defined in subsection (a) of section 27-103.

(b) No state facility may be used in the furtherance of any discrimination, nor may any state agency become a party to any agreement, arrangement or plan which has the effect of sanctioning discrimination.

(c) Each state agency shall analyze all of its operations to ascertain possible instances of noncompliance with the policy of sections 46a-70 to 46a-78, inclusive, as amended by this act, and shall initiate comprehensive programs to remedy any defect found to exist.

(d) Every state contract or subcontract for construction on public buildings or for other public work or for goods and services shall conform to the intent of section 4a-60.

Sec. 9. Section 46a-72 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2016):

(a) All state agencies, including educational institutions, which provide employment referrals or placement services to public or private employers, shall accept job orders on a nondiscriminatory basis.

(b) Any job request indicating an intention to exclude any person because of race, color, religious creed, sex, gender identity or expression, marital status, age, national origin, ancestry, intellectual disability, mental disability, learning disability, [or] physical disability, including, but not limited to, blindness, or status as a veteran, as defined in subsection (a) of section 27-103, shall be rejected, unless it is shown by such public or private employers that such disability prevents performance of the work involved.

(c) All state agencies shall cooperate in programs developed by the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities initiated for the purpose of broadening the base for job recruitment and shall further cooperate with all employers and unions providing such programs.

(d) The Labor Department shall encourage and enforce employers and labor unions to comply with the policy of sections 46a-70 to 46a-78, inclusive, as amended by this act, and promote equal employment opportunities.

Sec. 10. Section 46a-73 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2016):

(a) No state department, board or agency may grant, deny or revoke the license or charter of any person on the grounds of race, color, religious creed, sex, gender identity or expression, marital status, age, national origin, ancestry, intellectual disability, mental disability, learning disability, [or] physical disability, including, but not limited to, blindness, or status as a veteran, as defined in subsection (a) of section 27-103, unless it is shown by such state department, board or agency that such disability prevents performance of the work involved.

(b) Each state agency shall take such appropriate action in the exercise of its licensing or regulatory power as will assure equal treatment of all persons and eliminate discrimination and enforce compliance with the policy of sections 46a-70 to 46a-78, inclusive, as amended by this act.

Sec. 11. Section 46a-75 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2016):

(a) All educational, counseling, and vocational guidance programs and all apprenticeship and on-the-job training programs of state agencies, or in which state agencies participate, shall be open to all qualified persons, without regard to race, color, religious creed, sex, gender identity or expression, marital status, age, national origin, ancestry, intellectual disability, mental disability, learning disability, [or] physical disability, including, but not limited to, blindness, or status as a veteran, as defined in subsection (a) of section 27-103.

(b) Such programs shall be conducted to encourage the fullest development of the interests, aptitudes, skills, and capacities of all students and trainees, with special attention to the problems of culturally deprived, educationally handicapped, learning disabled, economically disadvantaged, or physically disabled, including, but not limited to, blind persons.

(c) Expansion of training opportunities under these programs shall be encouraged so as to involve larger numbers of participants from those segments of the labor force where the need for upgrading levels of skill is greatest.

Sec. 12. Section 46a-76 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2016):

(a) Race, color, religious creed, sex, gender identity or expression, marital status, age, national origin, ancestry, intellectual disability, mental disability, learning disability, [or] physical disability, including, but not limited to, blindness, or status as a veteran, as defined in subsection (a) of section 27-103, shall not be considered as limiting factors in state-administered programs involving the distribution of funds to qualify applicants for benefits authorized by law.

(b) No state agency may provide grants, loans or other financial assistance to public agencies, private institutions or organizations which discriminate.

Sec. 13. Subsections (a) and (b) of section 46a-86 of the 2016 supplement to the general statutes are repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2016):

(a) If, upon all the evidence presented at the hearing conducted pursuant to section 46a-84, the presiding officer finds that a respondent has engaged in any discriminatory practice, the presiding officer shall make written findings of fact and file with the commission and serve on the complainant and respondent an order requiring the respondent to cease and desist from the discriminatory practice and to take such affirmative action as is necessary to achieve the purpose of this chapter and redress any injury of the complainant resulting from the discriminatory practice.

(b) In addition to any other action taken under this section, upon a finding of a discriminatory employment practice, the presiding officer [may] shall order the hiring, promotion or reinstatement of any individual, with or without back pay, or restoration to membership in any respondent labor organization and shall allow reasonable attorney's fees and costs. The amount of attorney's fees allowed shall not be contingent upon the amount of damages requested by or awarded to the complainant. Liability for back pay shall not accrue from a date more than two years prior to the filing or issuance of the complaint. Interim earnings, including unemployment compensation and welfare assistance or amounts which could have been earned with reasonable diligence on the part of the person to whom back pay is awarded shall be deducted from the amount of back pay to which such person is otherwise entitled. The amount of any deduction for interim unemployment compensation or welfare assistance shall be paid by the respondent to the commission which shall transfer such amount to the appropriate state or local agency.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

October 1, 2016

46a-58

Sec. 2

October 1, 2016

46a-59

Sec. 3

October 1, 2016

46a-60(a)(1) to (6)

Sec. 4

October 1, 2016

46a-64(a)

Sec. 5

October 1, 2016

46a-64c

Sec. 6

October 1, 2016

46a-66

Sec. 7

October 1, 2016

46a-70

Sec. 8

October 1, 2016

46a-71

Sec. 9

October 1, 2016

46a-72

Sec. 10

October 1, 2016

46a-73

Sec. 11

October 1, 2016

46a-75

Sec. 12

October 1, 2016

46a-76

Sec. 13

October 1, 2016

46a-86(a) and (b)

VA

Joint Favorable Subst.

 

The following Fiscal Impact Statement and Bill Analysis are prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for purposes of information, summarization and explanation and do not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either chamber thereof for any purpose. In general, fiscal impacts are based upon a variety of informational sources, including the analyst's professional knowledge. Whenever applicable, agency data is consulted as part of the analysis, however final products do not necessarily reflect an assessment from any specific department.

OFA Fiscal Note

State Impact: None

Municipal Impact: None

Explanation

The bill prohibits discrimination on the basis of a veteran's status under certain laws over which the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) has jurisdiction and allows veterans to file discrimination complaints.

This is not anticipated to result in a cost to CHRO. The agency has 42 prosecutors, adjudicators, and legal staff specifically dedicated to working on discrimination complaints.

The Out Years

State Impact: None

Municipal Impact: None

OLR Bill Analysis

sSB 197

AN ACT CONCERNING VETERANS, DISCRIMINATORY PRACTICES AND ORDERS OF THE COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND OPPORTUNITIES IN EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION CASES.

SUMMARY:

This bill prohibits discrimination on the basis of a veteran's status in employment, public accommodations, the sale or rental of housing, the granting of credit, and other laws over which the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) has jurisdiction. It authorizes people to file discrimination complaints with CHRO, which enforces antidiscrimination laws in these areas.

The bill also expands the authority of a presiding officer at a CHRO hearing with regard to the orders he makes on finding evidence of a discriminatory practice.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2016

DISCRIMINATION IN EMPLOYMENT, PUBLIC ACCOMMODATIONS, HOUSING, AND CREDIT

1 — General Antidiscriminatory Provision

Under existing law, it is a discriminatory practice to deprive someone of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by Connecticut or federal laws or constitutions, or cause such a deprivation, because of religion, national origin, alienage, color, race, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, blindness, or mental or physical disability. The bill adds veteran's status to this list, thus authorizing CHRO to investigate claims of discrimination against veterans on the basis of their status as veterans.

3 — Employment

The bill prohibits an employer or employer's agent, except in the case of a bona fide occupational qualification or need, from refusing to hire or employ someone; barring or discharging someone from employment; or discriminating against someone in pay or in employment terms, conditions, or privileges because the person is a veteran. This prohibition applies to any employer, public or private, that employs three or more people. It applies to all employees except those employed (1) by their parents, spouse, or children, or (2) in domestic service.

The act also prohibits the following kinds of employment discrimination based on veteran status:

4 — Public Accommodations

The bill prohibits anyone from denying someone, on the basis of his or her status as a veteran, full and equal accommodations in any public establishment (i.e., one that caters or offers its services, facilities, or goods to the general public), including any commercial property or building lot on which a commercial building will be built or offered for sale or rent, subject to lawful conditions and limitations that apply alike to everyone. It further prohibits discriminating, segregating, or separating people on the basis of their veteran status. Violations are punishable as a class D misdemeanor subject to a fine of up to $250, up to 30 days' imprisonment, or both.

5 — Housing

The bill prohibits the following kinds of housing discrimination based on one's status as a veteran:

Violations are punishable as class D misdemeanors.

The law's prohibitions on housing discrimination do not apply to either of the following, if the owner maintains his or her residence there: (1) renting a room or rooms in a single-family home or (2) a unit in a two-family home.

The bill allows property appraisers furnishing appraisals to consider factors other than veterans' status. Existing law allows them to consider factors other than race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, gender, identity or expression, marital status, age, lawful source of income, familial status, learning disability, or physical or mental disability.

6 — Credit

The bill prohibits a creditor from discriminating against any adult in a credit transaction on the basis of the person's veteran status.

Other Areas Subject to CHRO's Jurisdiction

The bill gives CHRO authority to investigate claims of discrimination based on a person's veteran status under other laws over which CHRO has jurisdiction. The bill:

CHRO HEARINGS

In addition to any other action taken by a CHRO hearing officer, after a finding of a discriminatory employment practice, the bill requires, rather that allows, the officer to order that a complainant be hired or reinstated, with or without back pay, or that his or her membership in any respondent labor organization be restored. The bill adds promotion to the list of possible orders. It also requires the officer to allow reasonable attorney's fees and costs. The amount of such fees cannot be contingent upon the amount of damages requested by or awarded to the complainant.

The bill also requires the presiding officer at a hearing conducted upon a discriminatory practice complaint, and upon a finding of such practice, to redress any injury the complainant suffered from the discriminatory practice.

BACKGROUND

Related Bill

SB 21, reported favorably by the Veterans Committee, broadens the scope of the law barring discrimination in the state's armed forces to more closely align with CHRO's antidiscrimination laws and federal policies relating to the armed forces.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Veterans' Affairs Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

13

Nay

0

(03/03/2016)

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