Discrimination

As a women’s rights agency founded in the wake of the struggle for equal credit, CWEALF knows all too well the ways that discrimination can affect the lives of women and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people stepping outside of gender roles. If you have questions, CWEALF’s Information & Referral (I&R) service can help you understand your rights and explain your options.

You can contact CWEALF’s I&R service online or by calling (860) 524-0601 in the Greater Hartford Area or toll-free at 1-800-479-2949. CWEALF’s I&R line is open Monday through Thursday from 9am to 2pm and Fridays from 9am to 1pm.

To meet an advocate in person in the Greater Hartford or New Haven area, call (860) 247-6090 to schedule an appointment.

Booklets

CWEALF publishes informational booklets on many legal topics.  Please call the I&R line if you are interested in receiving booklets. Some of our booklets are also available to download here.

FAQ

What legal issues do I face as an older woman that I didn’t when I was younger?

  • Age discrimination in employment
  • Age discrimination in housing
  • Right to alimony, medical benefits, and child support after divorce
  • Retirement and social security benefits
  • Wills and trusts
  • Living wills
  • Elder abuse

 

How do I know I’m being discriminated against at work because of my age?

You might be the target of age discrimination if:

  • you are paid less than a younger worker for doing essentially the same job,
  • you have trained younger workers and they have been promoted over you to jobs with higher pay and responsibility,
  • you were told at a job interview that you were overqualified because you have more education or experience than the job requires,
  •  you have other evidence that your age affects how your employer treats you.

There are laws to protect you and state agencies that can help you file a claim of discrimination.

What is a living will?

A living will is a document stating your wishes concerning your health care if you are in a terminal state or permanently unconscious, and is most frequently referred to in the context of decisions to remove life support. Anyone can make a living will; you do not need an attorney, but state law requires you to be of sound mind and to have the document signed in front of two witnesses. It is always wise to have an attorney review any such document to make sure it meets statutory requirements. The Connecticut State Department of Social Services or your regional Area Agency on Aging can give you printed forms to help you draft a living will without legal assistance.

Workplace Issues

CWEALF pioneered Connecticut’s battle for workplace equity. If you feel you are being discriminated against or harassed at work, call one of our experienced advocates. CWEALF’s advocates will help you understand your rights and explain your options.

You can contact CWEALF’s I&R service online or by calling (860) 524-0601 in the Greater Hartford Area or toll-free at 1-800-479-2949. CWEALF’s I&R line is open Monday through Thursday from 9am to 2pm and Fridays from 9am to 1pm.

To meet an advocate in person in the Greater Hartford or New Haven area, call (860) 247-6090 to schedule an appointment.

Booklets

CWEALF publishes informational booklets on many legal topics.  Please call the I&R line if you are interested in receiving booklets. Some of our booklets are also available to download here.

FAQ

Pregnancy and Family Medical Leave in CT

Download the PFML booklet here

What is pregnancy leave?
Pregnancy leave is an unpaid leave of absence for a reasonable length of time for the disability resulting from pregnancy or childbirth. Generally, the amount of time off considered reasonable is six to eight weeks. But this can vary depending on your condition.

Can I get paid while I’m out on leave?
All of the state and federal laws provide for unpaid leave. However, an employer can adopt a policy requiring you to take any of your unused sick time or vacation time during the leave period. Once you run out of sick or vacation time, the rest of the leave will be unpaid.

Do my health insurance benefits continue during my family or medical leave?
Under the federal law only, all employers are required to continue group health plan benefits for employees on family or medical leave – your insurance coverage must continue up to twelve weeks.

Does my employer have to give me my job back?
Yes. When you return you must be given the original job you held or a similar job with similar pay. There are exceptions if a private company can show that circumstances have changed so much that it would be impossible for them to hire you back or place you in the same or similar position.

What is Pregnancy and Family Medical Leave? Who can qualify for Family and Medical Leave?
PFMLA provides both men and women rights to unpaid leave:

  • For the birth or adoption of a child
  • To care for a very ill child, spouse, or parent
  • For your own serious illness

How does one qualify for Pregnancy and Family Medical Leave?
Under Federal law, a private employer must have 50+ employees within a 75-mile radius and the employee must have worked 1250 hours within a 12-month period.

Under CT State law, a private employer must have 75+ employees within the State of Connecticut and the employee must have worked 1000 hours within a 12-month period.

For more information, contact CWEALF to receive our Pregnancy and Family Medical Leave in CT booklet.

 

Sexual Harassment at Work

What is sexual harassment?               

Sexual harassment is a form of illegal sex discrimination. It is unwelcome sexual conduct that affects the terms and conditions of a person’s employment, or creates a hostile environment. In order for something to be considered sexual harassment, it must meet certain criteria. CWEALF’s booklet on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace outlines these criteria.

How do I know if my situation is considered sexual harassment under the law?

  • Sexual harassment can include:
  • Sexual propositions accompanied by threats to your job
  • Lewd comments or suggestions
  • Obscene jokes or emails
  • Sexual gestures

What should I do if I feel I’m being sexually harassed?
Refer to your company’s sexual harassment policy and follow the procedure for filing a complaint. Keep a record of the harassment. If possible, try talking to the source of the problem or writing them a letter.

What legal action can I take if my employer does not deal with the sexual harassment?
You can file a complaint with the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities within 180 days from the time you realize the discriminatory act has occurred. If you miss this deadline, you can file with the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission within 240 days.

As an employer, how do I avoid sexual harassment in the workplace?
You should develop comprehensive sexual harassment policies and an effective grievance procedure to handle cases should they arise. Your supervisors should receive training on their responsibilities.

Equal Education for Girls & Women

CWEALF has decades of experience advocating for equal education opportunities. Whether you have questions on Title IX, sexual harassment or another issue, CWEALF’s I&R service can help you understand your rights and explain your options.

You can contact CWEALF’s I&R service online or by calling (860) 524-0601 in the Greater Hartford Area or toll-free at 1-800-479-2949. CWEALF’s I&R line is open Monday through Thursday from 9am to 2pm and Fridays from 9am to 1pm.

To meet an advocate in person in the Greater Hartford or New Haven area, call (860) 247-6090 to schedule an appointment.

Booklets

CWEALF publishes informational booklets on many legal topics.  Please call the I&R line if you are interested in receiving booklets. Some of our booklets are also available to download here.

FAQ

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace and Students

How can students and employers protect themselves from sexual harassment in the workplace?

An ongoing study conducted by CWEALF found a need for today’s youth to learn about workplace harassment and discrimination. Many students cannot properly identify sexually harassing behaviors which can make them susceptible to becoming victimized.

CWEALF has created a new curriculum module that teaches about the many forms of sexual harassment and how to best protect oneself from harassment. Additionally, CWEALF put together a presentation that will take you through the curriculum with a more interactive approach.

Sexual Harassment in School

What is my school responsible for?    

The school is responsible for:

  • Making public who the Title IX Coordinator is
  • Reinforcing that sexual harassment will not be tolerated
  • Posting guidelines on how to report incidents
  • Following through on a sexual harassment complaint

As a student, whom can I talk to if I feel I’m being harassed? Go directly to your Title IX Coordinator – to fully protect your rights, you must ultimately report it to them. If you don’t know who that is, talk to a favorite teacher or other staff person at the school.

Gender Equity in School Sports

What is Title IX?                                                                                                 

Title IX is the federal law that prohibits schools from treating students differently simply because of their gender.

My school spends more money on the boys’ programs than the girls’ programs. Is this a Title IX violation?                                                                                  

Title IX does not require that schools spend the same amount of money on boys’ and girls’ sports. Instead, schools should show the reasons for this imbalance.

Family Matters

Thinking about starting a divorce? Not getting your child support payments? Need to modify a court order? Have questions? We have answers.

You can contact CWEALF’s I&R service online or by calling (860) 524-0601 in the Greater Hartford Area or toll-free at 1-800-479-2949. CWEALF’s I&R line is open Monday through Thursday from 9am to 2pm and Fridays from 9am to 1pm.

If you are seeking support because you are representing yourself in your court case, we also have advocates who can meet with you in person in Hartford or New Haven, call (860) 247-6090 to schedule an appointment.

By calling and speaking to one of our representatives you can learn more about the legal process and potentially receive referrals to attorneys for consultations and other agencies if necessary.

Booklets

CWEALF publishes informational booklets on many legal topics.  Please call the I&R line if you are interested in receiving booklets. Some of our booklets are also available to download here.

FAQs 

Divorce

How can I get a divorce?

In Connecticut there are three ways to get a divorce. You can:

  1. Hire an attorney
  2. Do the process pro se (represent yourself)
  3. Start the process pro se and then hire an attorney Pro se generally works best if the parties agree on most of the issues around the children, the finances and the property. You must file an action in court and can get a “Do It Yourself Divorce” guide packet also known as “Dissolution of Marriage” from the Court Service Center or online at www.jud.state.ct.us. The divorce process can take from 6 months or more depending on what is involved.

What is the cost of the divorce?

The cost of the divorce will vary greatly depending on the circumstances and whether or not you hire an attorney. There are, however, a few fees that everyone must pay. The cost to file for divorce is $300. If you have children from the marriage then you will need to take a parenting class, which costs $125 per parent. This class is state mandated. In order to serve the other person with divorce papers you must hire a state marshal. This fee is between $50-$75. If you do not know where your spouse is located, there will be an additional fee of approximately $350 to publish a Legal Notice.

What if I cannot afford the fees?

If you think you cannot afford the court fees, you can file a fee waiver application with the court. The form you will need is the Application for Waiver of Fees/Appointment of Counsel JD-FM-75, which can be found online here or at the Court Service Center. This document is a financial affidavit the court uses to determine your ability to pay the fees. Therefore, you want to make sure you list all of your monthly expenses in addition to your income. If the court finds that you qualify for the waiver, you will not have to pay the fees.

Does Connecticut have common law marriage?

No. Even if you have lived with the same person for a number of years, Connecticut does not consider you married. However, if you have children together, you can ask the court to establish custody, support and visitation orders. If you have property together, you may want to consult a lawyer to help assist with the division of property.

What if my spouse does not want a divorce?

Only one person has to claim that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. The only person who can stop the divorce process is the person who started the divorce process.

Initial steps for filing for divorce:

  1. Retrieve the required forms from a Court Service Center or online here.  You will need:
    1. Summons Family Action JD-FM-3
    2. Divorce Complaint/Cross Complaint JD-FM-159
    3. Notice of Automatic Court Orders JD-FM-158
  2. Fill out the required forms and bring them to the court clerk at the Court Service Center to be filed.  The court clerk will return the original divorce forms to you and give you a return date.
  3. Find a court marshal (lists available at the Court Service Centers) to serve your spouse with the papers.  You should give the marshal the original divorce forms along with a copy.
  4. After the marshal serves the papers, he/she will give you a Return of Service document that must be filed with the court clerk.  Check with the marshal to see if he/she filed the original divorce forms with the court, if not, you should file them along with the Return of Service.  Both the Return of Service and the original divorce forms must be filed at least six days before the assigned Return Date.

Custody

How do I establish custody?
If you are getting a divorce and have children from the marriage, you can ask the court to establish orders of custody. If you have never been married and have child(ren) together, you can ask the court to establish orders of custody and visitation by filing a motion in court, the necessary steps and forms can be found online here. There are three types of custody:

Joint legal custody, which usually means parents share in decision-making. Many variations/combinations are possible.

Joint physical custody, which usually means the child(ren) live some of the time with one parent and some of the time with the other parent. Many variations/combinations are possible.

Sole custody, which usually means the child(ren) have primary residence with one parent and that parent has the right to make all the decisions about the child(ren).


Child Support

How do I establish child support?

As soon as one parent is no longer living with the child(ren) an order can be established. If you are going through a divorce process, you will need to file a motion for temporary child support. A permanent child support order will be put into effect once the divorce is final. If you are separated and have not filed for a divorce, you can call the Bureau of Child Support Enforcement, Information and Problem-solving Resolution Unit at 1-800-228-5437. They will ask for all your financial information and your ex-partner’s information, and will establish a child support order. There is a $25 charge for this service.

What documents do I need to establish a child support order? How does the court determine how much child support needs to be paid?

You will need to collect financial information from both parents. This includes wages and other income as well as debts and expenses. The court uses statewide guidelines to make fair and consistent support orders. Copies of the guidelines are available to the public free of charge at court clerks’ offices throughout the state, or online at www.jud.state.ct.us/pub.htm.

Can I get child support even if we were never married?

Yes. You can have a child support order established through the Bureau of Child Support Enforcement by calling their Information and Problem-solving Resolution Unit at 1-800-228-5437. They will ask you for all your financial information and your ex-partner’s information, and will establish a child support order. There is a $25 charge for this service.

Can a child support order ever be modified?

Yes, child support orders can be modified if:

  • the financial situation of one or both parents changes,
  • the support order is no longer adequate to meet the needs of the child,
  • the support order did not include medical insurance,
  • the circumstances of either parent or the child have changed substantially.

How do I get a modification?

You can do one of two things. You can 1) ask for a review and adjustment from the Support Enforcement Services, or 2) file a motion for modification of child support with the court. Requests for review and adjustment of your case should be made in writing to your support enforcement officer and should state the reason(s) you believe the order should be changed. The state has 180 days from your request to complete the review of your order and present the modification request to the court.

If you decide to file a motion to modify child support, you will need to have a Marshal serve the paper work. You will have a court date within 30 days. The motion costs roughly $175 and the Marshal fee is between $50-$75.

Contact our I&R staff online or by phone anytime with further questions.

COVID-19 Resources

CWEALF is available to help navigate you through your legal rights during COVID-19. Please contact our Information and Referral Line to have us help you find the resource you need or connect you with an attorney in our Cooperating Attorney Network or community agency. While the CWEALF office is currently closed, all CWEALF staff and volunteers are working remotely. You can contact us by:

Calling our Information & Referral Line: (860) 524-0601 or Toll Free: 1-800-479-2949

Hours: Monday through Thursday: 9am – 2pm, Friday: 9am – 1pm

OR Send CWEALF an email using our online contact form:

CWEALF also has a bi-lingual (English and Spanish) Community Advocate available to work remotely with clients one-on-one.

CWEALF-produced COVID-19 resources:

Know Your Rights in the Workplace: COVID-19 

Conozca Sus Derechos en el Lugar de Trabajo Datos Breves de COVID-19

Understand the impact of COVID-19 on women: Women and COVID-19 Fact Sheet

Other resources during COVID-19:

Resources if you are experiencing violence or do not feel safe in your home

https://ctsafeconnect.com

 Unemployment:

File a new claim, and if eligible, file for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA): https://portal.ct.gov/DOLUI

CT Department of Labor’s FAQ for COVID-19 for workers and employers: http://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/DOLCOVIDFAQ.PDF

Community Support Resources:

CTCORE-Organize Now! Has provided a list for community support networks and mutual aid. Here you can provide what you need and what they can offer: https://www.ctcore-organizenow.org/coronactsupport

Connecticut Mutual Aid (see link for a Mutual Aid network in you community): https://ctmutualaid.com/

Housing:

Your protections during COVID-19: https://www.ctfairhousing.org/fair-housing-protections-the-covid-19-public-health-emergency/

Rent and Evictions during the COVID-19 Crisis: https://ctlawhelp.org/en/evictions-during-coronavirus-crisis (Spanish: https://ctlawhelp.org/es/desalojo-de-crisis-de-covid19)

Apply for The Department of Housing’s Temporary Rental Housing Assistance Program and Temporary Mortgage Assistance Program (both available as of July 15th). For for information:  https://www.chfa.org/covid19-updates/ or call 1-860-785-3111

Registering and voting during COVID-19:

Contact the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters (CTLCV) Action Team <info@ctlcv.org>

You can check if you are registered to vote through the state’s look-up tool here: https://portaldir.ct.gov/sots/LookUp.aspx

More information on registering to vote and how-to vote during COVID-19: https://portal.ct.gov/SOTS/Election-Services/V5-Side-Navigation/COVID-19-Information-Page

Register to vote online: https://voterregistration.ct.gov/OLVR/welcome.do

Housing and Shelters:

To access Connecticut’s shelter and housing assistance systems: Call 2-1-1

Judicial Updates:

Court-reopenings and other updates: https://jud.ct.gov/COVID19.htm

Restraining Orders during COVID-19: https://jud.ct.gov/remote_restrain.htm

Other Resources:

CT’s official state coronavirus updates website:  https://portal.ct.gov/coronavirus

The Hartford Courant has a on-going list of many resources, include food resources for adults and children: https://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-news-coronavirus-resource-guide-connecticut-20200319-g4dtz4chjnafzl2wyr35diyce4-story.html?fbclid=IwAR2T6AgZRJK3D7YkzMYmRIM841a_F0mLD6ag5WUAn2-yipso5FRL1hW11Ko

Crisis textline: 741741

SNAP: Applications for the state-run Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program can be completed at: https://portal.ct.gov/DSS/SNAP/Supplemental-Nutrition-Assistance-Program—SNAP/Apply

Recursos de CWEALF Durante COVID-19

CWEALF está disponible para ayudarte a navegar sus derechos legales durante COVID-19. Comuníquese con nuestra Línea de Información y Referido para que le ayudemos a encontrar el recurso que necesita o le conectemos con un abogado de nuestra Red de Abogados Cooperantes o agencia comunitaria. Aunque la oficina de CWEALF está cerrada actualmente, todo el personal y los voluntarios de CWEALF están trabajando de forma remota. Puede contactarnos por:

Llamando a nuestra línea de Información y Referidos: (860) 524-0601 o Sin Cargo: 1-800-479-2949

Horario: lunes a jueves: 9am-2pm, viernes: 9am-1pm

O envíe un correo electrónico a CWEALF utilizando nuestro formulario de contacto en línea:

CWEALF también tiene un defensor de la comunidad bilingüe (inglés y español) disponible para trabajar de forma remota con los clientes uno a uno.

Recursos de COVID-19 producidos por CWEALF:

Comprender el impacto de COVID-19 en las mujeres: Women and COVID-19 Fact Sheet

Otros recursos durante COVID-19:

Recursos si está sufriendo por violencia o no se siente seguro en su hogar

https://ctsafeconnect.com

Desempleo:

Presente un nuevo reclamo y, si es elegible, solicite Asistencia por Desempleo Pandémico (PUA): https://portal.ct.gov/DOLUI

Preguntas frecuentes del Departamento de Trabajo de CT sobre COVID-19 para trabajadores y empleadores: http://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/DOLCOVIDFAQ.PDF

Recursos de Apoyo Comunitario:

CTCORE-¡Organízate ahora! Ha proporcionado una lista de redes de apoyo comunitario y ayuda mutua. Aquí puedes proveer lo que necesitas y lo que te pueden ofrecer: https://www.ctcore-organizenow.org/coronactsupport

Connecticut Mutual Aid (consulte el enlace para ver una red de Mutual Aid en su comunidad): https://ctmutualaid.com/

Alojamiento:

Sus protecciones durante COVID-19: https://www.ctfairhousing.org/fair-housing-protections-the-covid-19-public-health-emergency/

Alquiler y desalojos durante la crisis de COVID-19: https://ctlawhelp.org/en/evictions-during-coronavirus-crisis (Español: https://ctlawhelp.org/es/desalojo-de-crisis-de-covid19)

Aplique para el Programa Temporal de Asistencia Para Viviendas de Alquiler y el Programa de Asistencia Hipotecaria Temporal del Departamento de Vivienda (ambos disponibles a partir del 15 de julio). Para obtener más información visite: https://www.chfa.org/covid19-updates/ o llame al 1-860-785-3111

Registrarse y Voté durante COVID-19:

Comuníquese con el Equipo de Acción de la Liga de Votantes por la Conservación de Connecticut (CTLCV) <info@ctlcv.org>

Puede verificar si está registrado para votar a través de la herramienta de búsqueda del estado aquí: https://portaldir.ct.gov/sots/LookUp.aspx

Más información sobre cómo registrarse para votar y cómo votar durante COVID-19: https://portal.ct.gov/SOTS/Election-Services/V5-Side-Navigation/COVID-19-Information-Page

Regístrese para votar en línea: https://voterregistration.ct.gov/OLVR/welcome.do

Vivienda y Refugios:

Para acceder a los sistemas de asistencia de vivienda y refugio de Connecticut: Llame al 2-1-1

Actualizaciones Judiciales:

Reaperturas de tribunales y otras actualizaciones: https://jud.ct.gov/COVID19.htm

Órdenes de Restricción durante COVID-19: https://jud.ct.gov/remote_restrain.htm

Otros Recursos:

Sitio web oficial de actualizaciones de coronavirus del estado de CT: https://portal.ct.gov/coronavirus

El Hartford Courant tiene una lista continua de muchos recursos, que incluyen recursos alimentarios para adultos y niños: https://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-news-coronavirus-resource-guide-connecticut-20200319-g4dtz4chjnafzl2wyr35diyce4 -story.html? fbclid = IwAR2T6AgZRJK3D7YkzMYmRIM841a_F0mLD6ag5WUAn2-yipso5FRL1hW11Ko

Línea de texto de crisis: 741741

SNAP: Las solicitudes para el Programa de Asistencia de Nutrición Suplementaria administrado por el estado se pueden completar en: https://portal.ct.gov/DSS/SNAP/Supplemental-Nutrition-Assistance-Program—SNAP/Apply