The mission of the Connecticut Judicial Branch is to serve the interests of justice and the public by resolving matters brought before it in a fair, timely, efficient and open manner.

Employment Law Supreme Court Opinion

by Oumano, Emily


SC20514 - Connecticut Judicial Branch v. Gilbert (“This case arises from allegations of sexual harassment brought by the named defendant, Germaine Gilbert (complainant), a judicial marshal who is employed by the plaintiff, the Connecticut Judicial Branch (branch). Following a contested public hearing before the defendant Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (commission), the human rights referee (referee) found that the allegations were substantiated and awarded the complainant back pay with interest, emotional distress damages, attorney's fees, and injunctive relief. The branch appealed, and the trial court sustained the appeal in part. The court upheld the referee's determinations that (1) emotional distress damages and attorney's fees were available remedies under the state employment discrimination law then in effect if the complainant was able to establish a violation of Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1991, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. (2018) (Title VII), and (2) the state has waived its sovereign immunity with respect to prejudgment and postjudgment interest awards for civil rights violations, but also determined that (3) the award of emotional distress damages must be vacated because of the complainant's failure to fully comply with the branch's discovery requests in the administrative proceeding, and (4) the injunction reinstating the complainant to her former workplace must be vacated as overbroad and otherwise improper. The branch challenges the first two determinations on appeal; the commission challenges the latter two determinations on cross appeal. We affirm the judgment of the trial court with respect to the Title VII issue, reverse the judgment with respect to sovereign immunity, and remand the case for the referee to conduct a new hearing in damages and, if appropriate, to revisit the injunction reinstating the complainant to her former workplace.”)