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Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed into effect a law that will change the sexual harassment training and posting requirements for businesses across the state.
For years, the law has required Connecticut employers with 50 or more employees, to provide a minimum of 2 hours of sexual harassment training to all supervisors who work in Connecticut. Training was mandated within six months of assumption of a supervisory role. Although retraining was not required, it was recommended every three years.
THIS ISN’T THE LAW ANYMORE. Keep reading to see what the new law will require.
Private Employers with 3 or more employees must post information concerning sexual harassment and the remedies available to victims in a prominent location at their place of business.
Private Employers with 3 or more employees must provide new employees, within 3 months of their start date, with a copy of the information concerning the illegality of sexual harassment and remedies available to victims.
Private Employers with less than 3 employees must provide two hours of training and education to all supervisory employees by September 30, 2020. Employers who have trained supervisors since October 1, 2018, do not have to retrain these supervisors by the September 30, 2020 deadline. New supervisors must be trained within 6 months of taking on a supervisory role. Training must be repeated every 10 years.
Private Employers with more than 3 employees must provide two hours of training and education to all employees by September 30, 2020. Employers who have trained employees since October 1, 2018, do not have to retrain these employees by the September 30, 2020 deadline. New employees must be trained within 6 months of their start date. Training must be repeated every 10 years.
When responding to a claim of harassment, an employer cannot modify the conditions of employment of the employee making the claim unless such employee agrees, in writing. This means employers cannot relocate or reassign an employee to a different workplace, department, or schedule; or make any other substantive changes to the employee’s work environment without written consent from the employee.
Employers who do not comply with the notice or training requirements may face fines up to $1,000.
If the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) finds an employer committed a discriminatory employment practice, the law now allows the alleged victim to recover attorney’s fees. In determining the amount of attorney’s fees a person can recover, the amount of damages awarded will not be taken into account. Therefore, an employee who wins a nominal award may still cost your business thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees.
Employers must allow a representative from CHRO access to their workplaces to inspect their workplace and records to establish compliance with the notice and training requirements.
Beyond its effect on the workplace, the bill also eliminates the statute of limitations for sexual assaults against minors and provides more time for adult victims of sexual assault to pursue damages in civil court or justice in criminal court.
Employers should take this time to review and revise their anti-harassment policies and procedures, and prepare to train their staff before the 2020 deadline. If you have any questions regarding your responsibilities under the new law, we strongly urge you to reach out to competent employment counsel who can assist you.
Robert G. Brody is the Founder and Managing Member of Brody and Associates, LLC, a management-side Labor, Employment, and Benefits law firm in Westport, CT. Co-author, Lindsay M. Rinehart is an associate at the Firm. If we can be of assistance in this area, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 203.454.0560. For more information about Brody and Associates, LLC please visit www.brodyandassociates.com.
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