For more than a decade, Luis Patino, a machinist at Birken Manufacturing Co. in Bloomfield, endured jeers from co-workers who pelted him with anti-gay insults in three languages — English, Spanish and Italian. The words made his body shake in humiliation and anger, he told a jury in 2006. Patino’s repeated complaints to the company and the state have led to what many experts are calling a landmark decision on workplace harassment. The state Supreme Court ruled Friday that employers may be liable if they fail to protect employees from harassment based on sexual orientation.
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