Employers in Connecticut with more than 3 employees must provide sexual harassment training to all employees & all employers must provide training to supervisors. Regulations originally applied only to companies with >50 employees and training was only required for supervisors.
Are there any relevant Connecticut laws I should know about?
Substitute Senate Bill 3 (identified as Public Act 19-16) passed on June 18, 2019 and is effective October 1, 2019 expanding training requirements. Conn. Gen. Stat 46a-54 (15); CHRO; Conn. Agencies Regulations 46a-54-200-207; Connecticut SB 3 (2019).
What companies must provide training?
All employers of any size must provide sexual harassment training to their supervisors in Connecticut. Employers that have three or more employees must provide training to all employees in Connecticut. (1)
Who must be trained?
All employees (2) and supervisors. (3) Appears to include part-time workers.
How frequently must employees be trained?
Every 10 years. It is recommended that refresher training be provided every three years. (4)
When must employees be trained?
Supervisors must be trained within 6 months of assumption of supervisory role. New employees hired after October 1, 2019 must be trained within six months of hire. All current employees must be trained by February 9, 2021. (5)
What are the minimum training requirements?
- 2 hours in length
- Classroom-like training which includes eLearning (6)
- Describing all federal and state statutory provisions prohibiting sexual harassment in the workplace with which the employer is required to comply, including, but not limited to, the Connecticut discriminatory employment practices statute (section 46a-60 of the Connecticut General Statutes) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended (42 U.S.C. section 2000e, and following sections)
- Defining sexual harassment as explicitly set forth in subdivision (8) of subsection (a) of section 46a-60 of the Connecticut General Statutes and as distinguished from other forms of illegal harassment prohibited by subsection (a) of section 46a-60 of the Connecticut General Statutes and section 3 of Public Act 91-58
- Discussing the types of conduct that may constitute sexual harassment under the law, including the fact that the harasser or the victim of harassment may be either a man or a woman and that harassment can occur involving persons of the same or opposite sex
- Describing the remedies available in sexual harassment cases, including, but not limited to, cease and desist orders; hiring, promotion or reinstatement; compensatory damages and back pay
- Advising employees that individuals who commit acts of sexual harassment may be subject to both civil and criminal penalties
- Discussing strategies to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace
- Provide, not later than three months after the employee’s start date with the employer, a copy of the information concerning the illegality of sexual harassment and remedies available to victims of sexual harassment to each employee by electronic mail with a subject line that includes the words “Sexual Harassment Policy”
Training may also include, but is not limited to, the following elements:
- Informing training participants that all complaints of sexual harassment must be taken seriously, and that once a complaint is made, supervisory employees should report it immediately to officials designated by the employer, and that the contents of the complaint are personal and confidential and are not to be disclosed except to those persons with a need to know
- Conducting experiential exercises such as role playing, coed group discussions and behavior modeling to facilitate understanding of what constitutes sexual harassment and how to prevent it
- Teaching the importance of interpersonal skills such as listening and bringing participants to understand what a person who is sexually harassed may be experiencing
- Advising employees of the importance of preventive strategies to avoid the negative effects sexual harassment has upon both the victim and the overall productivity of the workplace due to interpersonal conflicts, poor performance, absenteeism, turnover and grievances
- Explaining the benefits of learning about and eliminating sexual harassment, which include a more positive work environment with greater productivity and potentially lower exposure to liability, in that employers-and supervisors personally-have been held liable when it is shown that they knew or should have known of the harassment
- Explaining the employer’s policy against sexual harassment, including a description of the procedures available for reporting instances of sexual harassment and the types of disciplinary actions which can and will be taken against persons who have been found to have engaged in sexual harassment
- Discussing the perceptual and communication differences among all persons and, in this context, the concepts of “reasonable woman” and “reasonable man” developed in federal sexual harassment cases
- “Employer” includes the state and all political subdivisions thereof, including the General Assembly, and means any person or employer with three or more persons in his employ”
- “Employee” means any individual employed by an employer, including an individual employed by such individual’s parent, spouse or child”
- “Supervisory Employee means any individual who has the authority, by using her or his independent judgement, in the interest of the employer, to hire, transfer, suspend, lay off, recall, promote, discharge, assign, reward or discipline other employees, or responsibility to direct them, or to adjust their grievances or effectively to recommend such actions.”
- “While not required by these regulations, the Commission encourages an employer having fifty (50) or more employees to provide an update of legal interpretations and related developments concerning sexual harassment to supervisory personnel once every three (3) years.”
- “If an employee has received such training since October 1, 2018, he or she is not required to receive the training again.”
- ”Thus, the Commission concludes that so long as an e -learning program otherwise satisfies the statutory and regulatory requirements set forth at CONN. AGENCIES REGS. § 46a-54-204 (c) (1) and (2), and provides an opportunity for students to ask questions and obtain answers in a reasonably prompt manner, then such a program does comply with our statutes and regulations”
- Conn. Gen. Stat 46-54 (15) stands for Connecticut General Statutes, Title 46a Human Rights, Chapter 814c Human Rights and Opportunities, Section 46a-54 (15), and describes the overall sexual harassment training requirement. Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) interprets and enforces relevant statues and lays out the relevant regulations. Conn. Agencies Regulations 46a-54-200-207 is the resulting sexual harassment training regulations (provides more details). Substitute Senate Bill 3 (identified as Public Act 19-16) replaced the original Section 46a-54 of the General Statutes lowering the employer size thresholds and requiring all employees to be trained.