Employers Liable For Anti-Gay Harassment, Connecticut Supreme Court Rules

This article about work place harassment came in today from the Hartford Courant. It reminds us that while much progress has been made, there are still some places where LGBT folks need legal protection.

By JANICE PODSADA, jpodsada@courant.com
The Hartford Courant
9:17 p.m. EDT, May 7, 2012

For more than a decade, Luis Patino, a machinist at Birken Manufacturing Co. in Bloomfield, endured jeers from co-workers who pelted him with anti-gay insults in three languages — English, Spanish and Italian. The words made his body shake in humiliation and anger, he told a jury in 2006.

Patino’s repeated complaints to the company and the state have led to what many experts are calling a landmark decision on workplace harassment. The state Supreme Court ruled Friday that employers may be liable if they fail to protect employees from harassment based on sexual orientation.

Connecticut law expressly prohibits discrimination based on gender, and Friday’s ruling affirmed that workers may also sue employers for anti-gay harassment in the workplace.

“This is the first appellate case anywhere in the country to apply the hostile workplace rubric to sexual orientation. Principally, it’s been applied to gender discrimination and racial discrimination,” said attorney Jon L. Schoenhorn of Hartford, who argued Patino’s case before the Supreme Court.

Read the rest of the article here.



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