Connecticut Passes Legislation Enhancing Employer’s Obligations Regarding Sexual Harassment Training and Notification to Employees

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Cozen O'Connor

Connecticut has joined the growing number of states passing or enhancing laws aimed to deter sexual harassment in the workplace. On June 18, 2019, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed into law a bill entitled “An Act Combatting Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment” which expands Connecticut’s current sexual harassment training and notification requirements for employers.

Previously, Connecticut’s law on sexual harassment training only applied to employers with 50 or more employees and only required training for supervisors. This new law applies to all employers, but with different levels of training requirements depending on the number of employees.

Employers with three or more employees in Connecticut must now provide the following:

  1. Beginning October 1, 2019, employers must provide two hours of sexual harassment training to all employees;
  2. New employees hired after October 1, 2019, must be trained within six months of hire;
  3. All current employees must be trained by October 1, 2020;

For employers with less than three employees, the law requires them to provide certain training to supervisory employees by October 1, 2010 (or within six months of hire).

For all employers: (1) the training must be at least two hours in length; and (2) the information during the training must include information concerning the federal and state statutory provisions regarding sexual harassment and remedies available to victims of sexual harassment.

If an employee received appropriate training subsequent to October 1, 2018, he or she does not have to be re-trained. Employers must provide periodic supplemental training that updates employees on the contents of the sexual harassment training not less than every ten years.

The new law also enhances notice requirements for information concerning the illegality of sexual harassment and remedies available to victims of sexual harassment and requires employers to send a copy of information concerning sexual harassment to employees within three months of hire via email with a subject line that includes the words “Sexual Harassment Policy” or similar language.

Failure to provide the required notices and training can result in a monetary fine to the employer or could be considered a “discriminatory practice” that may allow aggrieved employees to bring an action before the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (“CHRO”) or in court.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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