Frequently Asked Questions:
- Sexual Harassment
- Upward Mobility
- Meet the Staff/Contact Information
Question: Can anyone file a discrimination complaint with the Office of Diversity and Equity?
Answer: Yes. A complaint may be filed by any employee or applicant who feels that s/he has been, or is being, discriminated against because of their race, color, religious creed, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, national origin, ancestry, mental disability or history of mental disability, intellectual disability, learning disability, physical disability- including but not limited to blindness, pregnancy, previous opposition, previous criminal conviction, genetic information, or workplace hazards to reproductive systems unless there is a bona fide occupational qualification excluding persons in one of these protected classes. Complaints may also be filed by anyone who feels that s/he might be experiencing retaliation for previously filing a discrimination complaint.
If you feel that you have been discriminated against, you may call the Office of Diversity & Equity and ask to speak with the Equal Employment Opportunity Specialist assigned to your Region or Facility. (Meet the Staff and Staff Assignments
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 the 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.
Question: Is there a time limit for filing a complaint?
Answer: Yes. Complaints must be filed with the ODE within 30 days of the alleged discriminatory act. Complaints to the CHRO must be filed within 180 days of the alleged act, and complaints to the EEOC must be filed within 300 days of the alleged act.
Answer: The ADA, which was signed into law by President 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 the DCF ODE, which serves as the ADA Coordinator for the Department, of your disability. You must have a medical statement and/or documentation concerning your disability on file with the ODE, 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 an accommodation?
Answer: Questions, concerns, complaints or requests for information or assistance regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act may be forwarded to the Department’s designated ADA Coordinator:
Debra Freund, ODE Director
505 Hudson Street, Hartford, CT 06106
Tel: 860-550-6303, TDD: 1-800-982-6373; Fax: 860-723-7201
Question: Does DCF have an Upward Mobility Program?
Question: What is Upward Mobility?
Answer: Upward Mobility is a systematic way to aid aspiring employees, who might have difficulty making progress otherwise, in identifying, enhancing and applying their particular aptitudes to achieve upward movement.
Question: Will I automatically receive a promotion at the end of this program?
Answer: No. Promotions are based on an employee’s performance/success within the program and availability of openings.
Question: Where do I seek counseling if I have been unsuccessful in seeking a promotion?
Answer: You may contact the ODE Director at 860-550-6303.
Question: Did you know that the DCF has a Sexual Harassment Policy?
Act of Discrimination and Sexual Harassment Policy 7-4-3.6)
What is sexual harassment? Answer:
The definition of sexual harassment is: any repeated or unwanted verbal or physical advances, sexually explicit derogatory statements, or sexually discriminatory remarks made by someone in the workplace, which is offensive or objectionable to the recipient, or which causes the recipient discomfort or humiliation, or which interferes with the recipients job performance. It is:
- Repeated – more than once.
- Unwanted – when the recipient says, or otherwise makes it known the behavior is unwanted. Other ways of making it known may include: walking away, ignoring behavior, or avoiding being around certain people.
- Verbal – sexist remarks about clothing, body, or sexual activities, things that are said, the way things are said.
- Physical – touching, patting, brushing, physical assaults.
- Workplace – when these things happen at the workplace or have an effect on the workplace (i.e. if an action is done outside of work, but makes the recipient uncomfortable at work).
- Recipient – the person (male or female) receiving the unwanted behavior has an obligation to say or otherwise make it known the actions are unwanted.
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 are being sexually harassed or know someone who is, you may call the ODE at 860-550-6356 or any of the entities noted on the above referenced Sexual Harassment Policy.