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Connecticut’s new sexual harassment prevention requirements

Highlights:

  • The new legislation goes into effect Oct. 1, 2019.
  • Employers with three or more employees must provide two-hour sexual harassment prevention training by Oct. 1, 2020.
  • Different than the NYS sexual Harassment Prevention requirements
  • Employees will have at least 180 days to file a complaint with the state

Gov. Ned Lamont signed legislation mandating employers in Connecticut to take required steps toward informing and training employees in the prevention of inappropriate and prohibited conduct in the workplace. This new legislation is part of a nationwide push to reduce workplace sexual harassment. Public Act No. 19-16 requires all employers with three or more employees to: (1) post information concerning the illegality of sexual harassment in a prominent place in their workplace and on any internal employee information websites; and (2) provide a copy of the poster to all employees via email no later than Oct. 1, 2019; and (3) provide two hours of training and education about sexual harassment prevention by Oct. 1, 2020.

The Connecticut Human Rights Office has provided a poster for employers throughout the state to use, available in English and Spanish. Information about the illegality of sexual harassment in the workplace must be posted and distributed by that date, and employers will have a year to conduct the required training and education. Supplemental education and training will be required every 10 years. Employers with fewer than three employees will still need any employee in a supervisory role to complete the training. This legislation goes into effect Oct. 1, 2019.

It is important to note that this new law has some important differences to neighboring states’ workplace harassment laws, notably New York. For example, Connecticut does not require the adoption of a sexual harassment prevention policy in employment manuals, while New York does not have the same posting requirements as Connecticut. Connecticut requires two hours of training, while New York does not set a specific length of time. New York requires annual training, while Connecticut only requires training each decade. New York has no exception for any employer, while Connecticut has reduced the requirements for an employer with fewer than three employees. While New York does not have any statutory penalty for failure to comply with the law, Connecticut’s law does allow for fines of up to $1,000 for failure to comply with each requirement of the legislation. Both states provide resources to assist employers in compliance through their offices for human rights.

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