Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont recently signed into law the “Time’s Up Act” (CT Public Act No. 19-16), which amends Connecticut’s existing law regarding sexual harassment training and related informational materials (Section 1, Section 46(a)-54 of the general statutes).
The new law, which went into effect on October 1, 2019, mandates that nearly all Connecticut employers provide training to their employees regarding sexual harassment. Employers with more than three employees must now provide training to all of their employees, while employers with less than three employees must provide training to supervisors only. Previously, only employers with 50 or more employees had to provide such training and only to supervisors. The Act applies equally to employers outside Connecticut who have at least one employee in the State.
Per the new law, employers with at least three employees must provide all of their employees two hours of sexual harassment training by October 1, 2020 (one year from the new law’s effective date). For employees hired on or after October 1, 2019, such training must be provided within six months of their start date.
Employers with fewer than three employees must provide such training only to their supervisory employees and must do so within one year of October 1, 2019. Any such employer who has previously provided its supervisors such training after October 1, 2018, need not repeat the training. Periodic supplemental training must be provided no less than every ten years.
The Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (“CHRO”) has developed and made available on its website a free online training and education video entitled “CHRO Sexual Harassment Training”. An employer may satisfy its training obligations under the new Act by having its employees access and participate in this online training program. The training video can be found at www.ct.gov/chro. Employers may also provide the training through alternative, private means so long as the training meets all of the statutory requirements.
The new law also amends the requirements for posting information regarding the illegality of sexual harassment and the remedies that are available to victims. Previously, such information had to be posted in an accessible and conspicuous location where employees could view it. Now, the law requires that new employees receive a copy of this information within three months of their start date, and that the employer must provide the information via email to each employee with a subject line that includes the words “Sexual Harassment Policy” or similar words. If an employee does not have an email account through their employment, the employer must post the information on its website and provide employees with a link. An employer may also comply with this distribution obligation by providing employees with a link to the CHRO website.
Additionally, the new law extends the time for an individual to file a claim of sexual harassment or discrimination with the CHRO from 180 days to 300 days. It also enhances potential damages available to a victim of sexual harassment, allowing for the recovery of punitive damages and attorneys’ fees. The law also limits the employer’s ability to take certain corrective action in response to an employee’s claim of sexual harassment, including relocating an employee or reassigning an employee’s work schedule.
If you have questions or wish to discuss how these changes may affect your business, please contact Scott Centrella in our Employment Practices Group at Scentrella@dmoc.com.