Connecticut Releases Sexual-Harassment-Prevention Training Guidance

 

By Tanya A. Bovée, Margaret J. Strange and Russell N. Jarem © Jackson Lewis October 15, 2019
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Connecticut Releases Sexual-Harassment-Prevention Training Guidance

The Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) has released sexual-harassment-prevention training in accordance with the state Time's Up Act.

The act requires employers of all sizes to provide sexual-harassment-prevention training to supervisors by Oct. 1, 2020 (or within six months of hire after that date). Employers with at least three employees must provide this training to all other employees, not only supervisors, also by Oct. 1, 2020 (or within six months of hire after that date).

The CHRO also has offered additional guidance on implementing the new law. The new guidance makes clear that the scope of the act is intended to reach any employer that employs any individual in Connecticut, provided it also employs at least three employees in total, regardless of location. In other words, an employer with only one employee in Connecticut and at least two employees in other states must comply with the act's notification and training requirements.

While the act was silent on whether the training requirements would be applied to current employees, the CHRO has taken the position that current employees must complete the required training within one year, or by Oct. 1, 2020. The act requires that all new employees complete training within six months of their start date.

Most employers will be required to supplement their sexual-harassment-prevention policies and distribute them in the manner required by the statute, as well as offer training to their employees.

The CHRO has developed free training and posters that may be distributed. However, as expected, the free training is purposefully generic—providing identical training to management and subordinate employees—and addresses public accommodation and housing discrimination issues (which would not apply to most employers). More importantly, to the extent that an employer has its own process for receiving and investigating complaints, the free training cannot address that. Rather, it directs the complainant, generally, to report the claim to a supervisor or seek additional assistance from the CHRO directly (which may involve encouraging an employee to file a complaint with the CHRO).

Employers with employees in Connecticut should consult with employment counsel to determine whether they are in compliance with both the act's training and notification requirements.

Tanya A. BovéeMargaret J. Strange and Russell N. Jarem are attorneys with Jackson Lewis in Hartford, Conn. © 2019 Jackson Lewis. All rights reserved. Reposted with permission.

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