Every employer in Connecticut is required to take several steps to reduce workplace sexual harassment. However, employers with fewer than three employees are not required to comply with the full legislation.
Employers with three or more employees are required to:
- post information about the illegality of sexual harassment and the remedies available to victims of sexual harassment. The Connecticut Human Rights Office has created a poster employers can use—available in English and Spanish. The poster must be in a prominent and accessible location; and
- distribute a copy of the workplace’s information on the illegality of sexual harassment, including the remedies available to victims. New employees must receive a copy of the information within the first three months of their employment. Employers must distribute the information by email if the employee has either an employer-provided email account or has provided the employer with his or her personal email address. An employer may provide an employee with a link to the CHRO’s website on the illegality of sexual harassment and the available remedies.
All employees will need to complete a supplemental, two-hour course every 10 years. Employees hired after Oct. 1, 2019, will have six months to attend the training session.
Employers with fewer than three employees do not have a posting requirement. However, new employers with fewer than three employees will need an employee in a supervisory role to complete the mandatory two-hour training session.
Public Law 19-16 extends the complaint deadline to 300 days from the previous 180 days. This extension will give an employee who wishes to submit a workplace sexual harassment complaint to the CHRO 300 days to do so. The information posted and distributed in the workplace must include further details about how an employee may file a complaint with the CHRO.
Failure to comply
Employers can be fined for failure to post or distribute information regarding the illegality of workplace sexual harassment. If their employees do not complete the required training, employers can receive a fine. Each fine may not exceed $750.
After a complaint is filed, the executive director of the CHRO will have the option to bring a civil action against an employer with the written consent of the parties or an administrative action. If the court in the civil action finds discriminatory employment practices in violation of the amended statute, then the court may grant the CHRO fees and costs, and award a civil penalty no greater than $10,000. This is separate from a claim pursued under federal law by an individual employee.
Other state requirements that may affect your agency
New York state also requires employers to take specific actions regarding sexual harassment prevention in the workplace. However, the requirements are different from Connecticut’s requirements. If you have employees in both Connecticut and New York, then you are required to comply with the sexual harassment prevention laws of the state in which your employees work.
Alternatively, the requirements of both states can be met by adopting the New York sexual harassment prevention policy; posting the statutory information for both states; distributing the policy and posting to all employees by email; conducting a two-hour training and education session; offering an annual, one-hour training course; having a two-hour supplemental training session in the next 10 years; and having new employees trained within 30 days of their hire.
Clare Irvine, Esq.
Clare Irvine, Esq., graduated from Fordham University School of Law and Arizona State University.