Diversity and Equity FAQs

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Internal Complaint Procedure
Meet the Staff
Sexual Harassment

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Internal Complaint Procedure

Question: Does DCF have an internal discrimination complaint procedure?
Answer: 
Yes. (Office of Diversity and Equity Overview Policy 7-1)

 
Question: Can anyone file a discrimination complaint with the Office of Diversity and Equity?
Answer: Yes.  A complaint may be filed by any employee, applicant, or any individual doing business with the DCF who is of the belief discrimination is or has occurred against themselves or another because of their race; color; religious creed; age; sex (including domestic violence); national origin; ancestry; status as a veteran; sexual orientation; gender identity or expression; marital status; pregnancy, criminal record; genetic information; workplace hazards to reproductive systems; present, past, perceived, or having a history of mental disability, intellectual disability, learning disability or physical disability (including but not limited to blindness); and having previously opposed discriminatory activity.   A bona fide occupational qualification may preclude persons in one of these protected classes from asserting a viable discrimination claim.  Complaints may also be filed by anyone who feels they have been subjected to retaliation for previously filing a discrimination complaint.

If you feel that you have been discriminated against, call the ODE  (Contact Us / Meet the Staff)

 
 
Question: Does the Union process discrimination related complaints/issues?
Answer: Yes.  However, the ODE encourages employees to utilize the internal complaint procedure to resolve discrimination related issues.  The internal complaint procedure does not preclude employees from filing with any other entity including their Union.  Also, most contracts state that discrimination related issues are not abatable once filed with CHRO.

 

Question: Are there other options for filing a discrimination complaint?
Answer: Yes.   Discrimination complaints can also be filed with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO), the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the United States Department of Labor-Wage and Hour Division(DOL-WHD), and any other federal, state or local agency that enforce laws concerning discrimination in employment.
 
   
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Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

How to Request a Reasonable Accommodation (ADA)

Question: What is the ADA and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008?
Answer
The ADA, which was signed into law by President George H. Bush in 1990, is a wide-ranging civil rights statute that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities – similar to the protections given to women and persons of color since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was enacted.

 

Question: Who is protected?
Answer:
 Qualified individuals with disabilities are protected under the ADA.

An Individual with a disability:
  • Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; or
  • Has a record or history of such an impairment; or
  • Is perceived or regarded as having such an impairment.
Title I of the ADA protects qualified individuals with disabilities (individuals who are able to perform the essential functions of the job, with or without reasonable accommodation) from employment discrimination.
 
Title II of the ADA protects qualified individuals with disabilities (those who meet the essential eligibility requirements for the receipt of services or participation in programs) from discrimination in agency services and programs.
 
Title I – Employment-Title 1 of the ADA bars employment discrimination in the public and private sectors and in state and local governments.  ADA takes an across the-board approach to anti-discrimination protection in employment; it bans discrimination and requires reasonable accommodation in recruiting, hiring, employing promoting an training qualified workers with disabilities.
 
“Reasonable Accommodation” means any modification or adjustment to the work environment, or circumstances under which a position is customarily performed, enabling a qualified individual with a disability to perform the essential functions of the position.
 
Title II – Public Agencies – Title II regulations prohibit public entities such as state agencies from discriminating against or excluding people from programs, services or activities on the basis of disability.  Equal opportunity must be provided through reasonable modification in policies, practices or procedures; effective communication must be ensured through the provision of auxiliary aids and services; programs must be made accessible through non-structural (programmatic) or architectural modifications; and nondiscriminatory employment practices are required, as presented in Title I of the ADA.
 

Question: Can anyone claim to be disabled and receive protection and accommodation under ADA?
Answer:
  No, if you want the protections and opportunities of the ADA, you are responsible for notifying your HR Liaison of your disability.  You must have a medical statement and/or documentation concerning your disability on file with the DCF HR Department, particularly when requesting a reasonable accommodation, if not prior to such a request.  Employees do not have to identify themselves as having a disability until they need an accommodation.  Confidentiality will be respected.

The Medical Statement by a medical professional must define one’s disability, precise limitations imposed, and the expected duration of the disability.  Questions may be asked as to how this disability would substantially limit one’s ability to perform the essential function(s) of one’s job, with or without a reasonable accommodation.
 
 
Question:  Whom should I contact if I need a reasonable accommodation? 
Answer:  
Contact your local HR Liaison. 
 

Question:  Whom should I contact if I feel my accommodation is not sufficient?

Answer:   Go to:  Contact Us

 

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Sexual Harassment

Question:  Does the DCF have a Sexual Harassment Policy?
Answer:
  Yes.  (Office of Diversity and Equity Overview Policy 7-1)

 

Question:  What is sexual harassment?
Answer: 
The definition of sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors or any conduct of a sexual nature when:

  1. submission to 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 employment decisions affecting such individual, or
  3. 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
Examples of Sexual Harassment include (but are no limited to):
  • Repeated Behavior – more than once.
  • Unwanted Behavior – when the recipient says, or otherwise makes it known the behavior is unwanted.  Other ways of making it known may include: walking away, ignoring the behavior, reporting the behavior or avoiding being around certain people that exhibit such behavior.
  • Verbal Remarks – sexist remarks about clothing, body, or sexual activities; things that are said; the way things are said.
  • Non-Verbal Behavior - sexually explicit or suggestive pictures, ringtones, screen savers or workplace décor; whistling or staring in a sexually suggestive or offensive manner, offensive gestures or facial expressions of a sexual nature. 
  • Physical Contact – touching, patting, brushing, hugging, physical assaults.
  • Effects the Workplace – when the aforementioned examples occur at the workplace or outside of the workplace, but makes the recipient uncomfortable at work.

 

Question:  Whom may I contact if I feel that I have been sexually harassed and/or have questions or concerns about sexual harassment?
Answer:  If you feel that you were subjected to or the witness of sexual harassment, call the ODE at 860-550-6356.