Connecticut: Sexual-Harassment Prevention Obligations Expanded, Including Training Requirements

APPLIES TO

All Employers with Connecticut Employees

EFFECTIVE

October 1, 2019, unless otherwise noted

QUESTIONS?

Contact HR On-Call

(888) 378-2456

Public Act 19-16, also known as the “Time’s Up” bill, imposes quite a number of new obligations on employers in the battle against sexual harassment.  Most provisions go into effect as of October 1, 2019, unless otherwise noted.

Training Requirements: First, state-mandated sexual harassment training has been revised.  Previously, only employers of 50 or more employees had to provide training.  As of October 1, 2019, the training requirement varies depending on both headcount and employee role:

  • Employers of three or more employees must provide two hours of sexual harassment training to all staff, not just managers. Training must be conducted by October 1, 2020 for existing staff, or within six months of hire for all employees who begin employment on or after October 1, 2019.
  • Additionally, employers of any size must provide sexual harassment training to all supervisory Similarly, this training must be provided by October 1, 2020 for existing supervisors and within six months of assuming a supervisory role.

Training programs must be updated every ten years.  However, the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) will provide free resources that employers can use to meet this training requirement.

Notices and Postings:  Employers must provide information on unlawful sexual harassment and potential remedies to new employees within three months of date of hire.  Electronic delivery is acceptable only if the employer or employee has provided an e-mail account with which to communicate; otherwise, this information must be posted on the company’s website.  Employers can also meet this requirement by providing employees links to the CHRO’s website regarding sexual harassment.

Protections for Complainants:  New protections are now in place for employees who complain of alleged sexual harassment in the workplace.  Employers who make any changes to the conditions of employment for a complainant (e.g., relocating, revising work schedule, etc.) must obtain the complainant’s written consent to the change.

Timeline to File Complaints:  Employees have 300 days to file a complaint of any discriminatory practice, including sexual harassment, to the CHRO—almost double the previous timeline of 180 days.

Potential Damages:  The CHRO may now (1) award reasonable attorneys’ fees to a complainant who prevails in a complaint related to discriminatory employment practices, and (2) award prevailing plaintiffs punitive damages.  The CHRO can also assign Commission Counsel to bring a civil action in the Connecticut Superior Court, rather than proceeding to an administrative hearing after reasonable cause-finding.

Action Items

  1. Have current employees trained on sexual harassment by the required deadlines.
  2. Prepare required notices and/or postings for newly hired employees.
  3. Implement written employee consent forms for changes to any terms or conditions of employment.
  4. Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.

Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.

© 2019 ManagEase

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