Employers in Connecticut, take note: several provisions of the state’s new sexual harassment law go into effect in about a month.
The “Time’s Up” Act, signed into law in mid-June, expands Connecticut’s sexual harassment laws and includes several requirements for employers starting Oct. 1, 2019.
UPDATE: The deadline was extended to Jan. 1, 2021.
Below is a rundown of the major changes that employers should prepare for in the coming weeks.
There are several new sexual harassment training requirements for employers under the legislation.
Training Requirements for Current Employees:
- For companies with three or more workers, all employees must receive two hours of training by Oct. 1, 2020
- For companies with fewer than three employees, all supervisors must receive two hours of training by Oct. 1, 2020
Training Requirements for New Employees:
Employees hired on or after Oct. 1, 2019, must receive two hours of training within six months of their start date.
Subsequent Training Requirements:
Employers must provide “periodic supplemental training” at least once every 10 years.
Meanwhile, fines could be levied against companies that fail to provide the training.
The Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) is expected to release training tools for employers by Oct. 1, 2019.
Notice Requirements and Postings
In addition to posting requirements about sexual harassment, employers must also provide a copy of the information to new employees within three months of their hire. The information can be:
- Provided via email (with language like “Sexual Harassment Policy”)
- Posted on the company website
- Given via a link to the related CHRO webpage
The posting requirement must include the “illegality of sexual harassment” as well as remedies available to victims. Plus, the law authorizes the CHRO to inspect an employer’s place of business to ensure the compliance with both posting and training.
Again, failure to provide notice can result in a fine against employers.
Expanded Employee Protections
Lastly, Connecticut’s new sexual harassment law also expands employee protections for workplace sexual harassment:
- Banning certain adverse actions against employees who make a claim
- Extending the statute of limitations to make a claim to 300 days, up from 180
- Allowing courts to impose punitive damages in discrimination cases
- Allowing employees to recoup legal costs associated with a sexual harassment claim
#MeToo Movement and Employment Law
The Time’s Up Act in Connecticut is just one of a host of new laws being enacted in the wake of the #MeToo movement.
Additional posting, training and liability issues will continue to crop up for employers. Employers with workers in multiple cities, counties and states would be wise to maintain a log of such laws and their potential impact on day-to-day operations.