Posted On: March 25, 2009 by Peter M. LaSorsa

Man Awarded $94,500 For Hostile Work Environment Claim

Luis Patino, former employee of Birken Manufacturing Co., who claims damages under Connecticut's employment antidiscrimination law because he was subjected to severe harassment during his employment, including the widespread use of antigay names and slurs in his workplace had his day in court. A jury found in favor of Patino on his hostile work environment claim, and awarded him non-economic damages of $94,500. Connecticut's employment antidiscrimination law is similar to the Illinois Human Rights Act which prohibits discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, citizenship status (with regard to employment), age (40 and over), marital status, familial status (with regard to housing), arrest record, physical and mental disability, military status, sexual orientation and unfavorable discharge from military service.

However, Birken Manufacturing filed a motion to set aside that verdict, arguing that employers are not liable for antigay intimidation even though they are accountable for preventing other types of harassment in the workplace. Patino argues that what happened to him is employment discrimination and protected by the civil rights act of 1964.

Lambda filed a Legal's friend-of-the-court brief arguing that the verdict should stand because the state law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation protects workers against the kind of "hostile work environment" that Patino experienced.

Lambda Legal's brief urges the trial court to hold that Connecticut employers who permit a work environment that is hostile to gay and lesbian employees violate state antidiscrimination statutes, and seeks to ensure that the law is rigorously applied to ensure that employers understand their duty to protect gay employees - like other employees - from hostile workplaces.

Lambda Legal's brief urges the trial court to hold that Connecticut employers who permit a work environment that is hostile to gay and lesbian employees violate state antidiscrimination statutes, and seeks to ensure that the law is rigorously applied to ensure that employers understand their duty to protect gay employees - like other employees - from hostile workplaces according to outinhartford.com

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