Scovill Mfg. Co. v. Commission on Civil Rights

Decision Date30 November 1965
Citation215 A.2d 130,153 Conn. 170
CourtConnecticut Supreme Court
Parties, 9 Fair Empl.Prac.Cas. (BNA) 1338, 1 Empl. Prac. Dec. P 9723 SCOVILL MANUFACTURING COMPANY v. COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS of the State of Connecticut. Supreme Court of Errors of Connecticut

John S. Murtha, Hartford, with whom was Brandon J. Hickey, Hartford, for appellant (plaintiff).

Stephen J. O'Neill, Asst. Atty. Gen., with whom, on the brief, was Harold M. Mulvey, Atty. Gen., for appellee (defendant).


MURPHY, Associate Justice.

Johnny L. Trawick, a Negro, unsuccessfully applied for employment at the Scovill plant. He filed a complaint with the civil rights commission on June 10, 1963, alleging that the company discriminated against him because of his race. The commission investigated but did not prosecute Trawick's complaint. Instead, on January 8, 1964, the commission issued its own complaint against Scovill in which the commission charged Scovill with discriminating against Trawick by refusing to hire him because he had filed his complaint with the commission. A hearing tribunal found that, as alleged by the commission, Scovill had violated the Fair Employment Practices Act, and it issued a cease and desist order. Scovill filed a petition in the Superior Court to review the hearing tribunal's order; General Statutes § 31-128(d); and from an adverse judgment by that court it has taken this appeal.

Trawick sought employment at the Scovill plant on four occasions prior to June 5, 1963, when the company's interviewer gave him an application which he filled out and filed. He did not seek any particular job and had no special qualifications. The interviewer found him to be belligerent, argumentative, complaining, 'with a chip on his shoulder' and not physically qualified to do the heavy lifting required for 'bull work.' He was not employed since the interviewer concluded that he would not make a good employee. On June 10, he filed his complaint with the commission, and it was investigated by the commission's investigators. Thereafter, Trawick was interviewed by the company's employment manager, who reviewed his application and told him that he would not be hired merely because he had filed a complaint with the commission. Trawick returned to the company about a week later on June 19 for another interview by a senior job interviewer but was not hired. There is no evidence that Trawick has sought or been denied employment at the Scovill plant since that date.

According to the commission's records, its representatives, on June 19 and July 30, in person or by telephone, told the company's representatives that, unless the company gave a positive indication of the date when the company would employ Trawick, further action by the commission would be taken. The company stated that it would not be pressured into such action.

On November 13, 1963, Arthur L. Green, field representative, and Mario Vigezzi, supervisor of the commission's enforcement division, met again with company representatives at which time the commission's representatives stated that they were still investigating the Trawick complaint. Vigezzi asserted that the commission was quite concerned about the company's attitude and felt that not only had the company initially discriminated against Trawick on May 20, 1963, the first day he sought employment, but has been discriminating against him because he had filed his company. In his testimony before the hearing tribunal, Green testified that on June 13, the date of his second visit to the employment manager's office, the investigation of Trawick's complaint had been completed. Thomas F. Henry, the executive secretary of the commission, testified before the hearing tribunal that on June 25 there was no impression on the part of himself, Green, Vigezzi and Angelo Serluco, the other investigator, that Trawick was being denied employment because he had filed a complaint with the commission.

The commission on civil rights is constituted under, and its authority is governed entirely by, the provisions of the Fair Employment Practices Act. General Statutes §§ 31-122-31-128. The act bars discrimination in the employment of an individual because of race, color, religious creed, age, national origin or ancestry. § 31-126(a). Upon the filing of a complaint, the chairman of the commission is directed to refer the complaint to a commissioner or investigator for prompt preliminary investigation. If the investigator determines that there is reasonable cause to believe that an unfair...

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8 cases
  • Evening Sentinel v. National Organization for Women
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • 25 février 1975
    ...from discrimination because of their sex, age, religion, race, color, national origin or ancestry. Scovill Mfg. Co. v. Commission on Civil Rights, 153 Conn. 170, 173, 215 A.2d 130. The people of this state and their legislators have unambiguously indicated an intent to abolish sex discrimin......
  • State v. Commission On Human Rights and Opportunities
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • 13 juin 1989
    ...practices may constitute fresh violations of General Statutes (Rev. to 1975) § 31-126(a). Cf. Scovill Mfg. Co. v. Commission on Civil Rights, 153 Conn. 170, 175, 215 A.2d 130 (1965) (where job applicant denied employment on specific date, limitations period on complaint began to run on that......
  • Shane v. State of Conn., Civ. No. 3-88-129 (WWE).
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Connecticut
    • 24 mars 1993
    ...alleged a continuing course of conduct rather than any one specific violation. In contrast, in Scovill Manufacturing Co. v. Commission on Civil Rights, 153 Conn. 170, 175, 215 A.2d 130 (1965), there was no continuing course of conduct, because the statute of limitations began to run on the ......
  • Williams v. Commission on Human Rights & Opportunities, (AC 17948)
    • United States
    • Connecticut Court of Appeals
    • 20 juillet 1999
    ...Co. v. Commission on Human Rights & Opportunities, 165 Conn. 318, 330-31, 334 A.2d 443 (1973); Scovill Mfg. Co. v. Commission on Civil Rights, 153 Conn. 170, 175, 215 A.2d 130 (1965). Angelsea Productions, Inc. v. Commission on Human Rights & Opportunities, 236 Conn. 681, 674 A.2d 1300 (199......
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