The Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities just released their annual statistics. For employers, understanding the trend lines represents an opportunity to focus on areas of compliance.  You can download the statistics here.

Here are three key takeaways:

  1. Employment Discrimination Claims Rise. With unemployment relatively low, the prevailing wisdom among employment lawyers has always been that the number of lawsuits against employers will also be low. However, year-over-year claims filed with the CHRO are actually up. In the Fiscal Year ending on June 30, 2018, there were 2091 claims filed, up from 1963 filed in 2017.  While statistics do not tell the whole story, a rise in claims over the last year is notable.
  2. Sexual Harassment Claims Filed are Up. Big. The number of sexual harassment claims filed at the CHRO this past fiscal year totaled 235, up from 145 in 2017, and 135 the prior year. You do not need a math degree to see that claims are up a staggering 62 percent over the prior year.  That increase may help explain the rise of the number of claims filed at the CHRO generally.
  3. Case Assessment Review is Alive and Well. The CHRO began to review cases more closely in the last year and centralized the process for doing so.  As a result, a significant number of cases are now being dismissed on Case Assessment Review even before any mediation or fact-finding.  All told, 360 cases were dismissed on CAR, up from 168 the prior year and about 130 two years ago (when both Case Assessment Review, and its predecessor “Merit Assessment Review” were being used).

For employers, these trends mean that employers must remain vigilant in ensuring that its employment decisions are free from discrimination.  Employers should also redouble their efforts on sexual harassment prevention training and update their policies and procedures.  If you are an employer that has a claim filed against you, consider filing a position statement and strongly challenging the claim so that you have an argument as to why a dismissal is appropriate.