An employee can voluntarily separate from their employer and still receive unemployment benefits if the cause of separation was due to, among other things, a “hostile work environment.” So what constitutes a hostile work environment and what does the Connecticut Department of Labor use to determine whether or not such an environment exists? Legally, a hostile work environment must be “permeated with discriminatory intimidation, ridicule, and insult that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the victim's employment and create an abusive working environment,” according to precedent set by the decision Brittel v. Department of Correction.
Connecticut businesses drop unemployment appeals or fail to show up for hearings 40 percent of the time, according to state figures, driving the low success rate for employer appeals found in a recent association report. Strategic Services on Unemployment & Workers' Compensation, a nationwide association of employers, recently reported that Connecticut employers have one of the lowest success rates in the country. Data provided by Chief Appeals Officer Ralph Dorsey shows that employers frequently decide not to follow through on their appeals, contributing to their low success rate.