The State’s affirmative action commitment formally began in 1973 by an Executive Order of Governor Meskill. Affirmative action plan development and implementation is now guided by a detailed set of statutes and administrative regulations. These regulations, which were adopted in 1984, establish procedures to be used by State agencies as they pursue and report their affirmative action activity. Connecticut is the only state in the country that administratively regulates affirmative action plan development so thoroughly.
The Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) is the State of Connecticut’s chief civil rights law enforcement agency. Among CHRO’s responsibilities is the enforcement of the state’s affirmative action statute, Conn. Gen. Stat. Sections 46a-68 and 46a-68a. Pursuant to Section 46a-68(f), CHRO reports annually to the Governor and the General Assembly concerning the results of each agency’s affirmative action plan.
The Office of Diversity Programs of the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities initially reviews and evaluates affirmative action plans submitted by executive branch state agencies. Staff recommend that a plan be approved, conditionally approved, or disapproved to the Commission. The Commission then formally approves or disapproves each affirmative action plan submittal by a majority vote of its members present and voting at a meeting. If the Commission fails to formally approve, conditionally approve or disapprove an affirmative action plan within ninety (90) days of the date such plan is filed, it is deemed to be approved by default.
CHRO has authority to issue a "certificate of noncompliance" to any agency whose affirmative action plan is disapproved. Such a certificate bars the agency from filling a position by hire or promotion until CHRO determines that the agency has achieved compliance with the affirmative action plan requirements and withdraws the certificate. Absent such compliance, the hiring and promotion bar remains in effect unless CHRO is unable to show, at hearing, why the certificate should not be rescinded, or unless DAS or OPM certifies to CHRO that the vacancy must be immediately filled because of an emergency situation.
The Affirmative Action Regulations issued pursuant to Section 46a-68a of the Connecticut General Statutes, which was created by Public Act 83-569, contained the following statement of purpose: The Connecticut "General Assembly recognized that full equality of opportunity cannot be achieved by state government without affirmative action. For equality is a dream not realized, a goal not yet attained. Whether the product of invidious discrimination or benign neglect, discrimination at the individual and institutional levels has historically disadvantaged many, to the detriment of society as a whole. Without affirmative action to correct inequities in opportunity inherited from the past, discrimination will continue unchecked, evolving into more subtle but equally sinister forms."
For the complete text of the Affirmative Action Regulations, refer to the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies at Sections 46a-68-31 to 46a-68-74. These are currently not available on line. They may be viewed at libraries within the state, or contact our Office of Education Programs-Publications List to request a copy.