Connecticut law requires sexual harassment training for all supervisors
Connecticut state law (Section 46a-54-200) requires all public employers and all private employers with fifty or more employees to provide a minimum of 2-hours of sexual harassment training to all supervisors that work in Connecticut. This training must be provided within 6 months of a person obtaining a supervisory position.
Which employers must provide sexual harassment training for supervisors?
The Connecticut law applies to all organizations that employ 50 or more persons.
How is a “supervisor” defined?
The Connecticut law defines who is a “supervisor” more broadly than other jurisdictions. In addition to traditional supervisory responsibilities, such as the ability to hire and fire others, a person is considered a supervisor if he or she has the ability to direct other employees in their work. Thus, a team leader, for example, would be considered a supervisor and must receive supervisory sexual harassment training.
The Connecticut law specifically defines a supervisory employee as, “any individual who has the authority, by using his or her 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.”
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How long must the training be?
As mandated by Connecticut law, Section 46a-54-204, the sexual harassment training must be at least two hours in length.
How often must supervisors be trained? Do they need to be re-trained?
Training must be provided within six months of assumption of a supervisory role. Re-training is not required. However, the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights & Opportunities encourages employers “to provide an update of legal interpretations and related developments concerning sexual harassment to supervisory personnel once every three (3) years.”
Can online sexual harassment training qualify?
Yes. The Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities issued an opinion that online training can comply with the state’s law as long as the training (1) meets the content requirements (described below), and (2) “provides an opportunity for students to ask questions and obtain answers in a reasonably prompt manner.”
Importantly, Clear Law Institute’s online sexual harassment training allows users to ask questions and have those questions answered within two business days either by a Clear Law in-house legal expert or a client official.
What must be included in the content of the training?
The statute states that an employer’s training program for supervisors must include, at a minimum:
- A description of the federal and state statutory provisions prohibiting sexual harassment in the workplace, including but not limited to:
- The Connecticut Discriminatory Employment Practices Statute (section 46a-60 of the Connecticut General Statutes)
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C section 2000e)
- The definition of sexual harassment under state law
- Separate from other forms of illegal harassment that are prohibited
- Types of conduct that may constitute sexual harassment under state law, including:
- The harasser may be either a man or a woman
- The victim may be either a man or a woman
- Harassment can involve persons of the same or opposite sex
- Description of remedies available in sexual harassment cases, including:
- Cease and desist orders
- Compensatory damages
- Notice to employees that individuals who commit acts of sexual harassment may be subject to both civil and criminal penalties
- Strategies to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace
- The protection against retaliation, as provided pursuant to Title 5, section 4553, subsection 10, paragraph D.
The training may also include the following:
- All complaints of sexual harassment must be taken seriously
- Once a complaint is made, supervisory employees should report it immediately to the employer’s designated officials
- Complaints are personal and confidential, and cannot be disclosed except to those persons with a “need to know”
- 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
- The importance of interpersonal skills, such as listening and understanding what a person who is sexually harassed may be experiencing
- The importance of preventative strategies to avoid the negative effects of sexual harassment on both the victim and the productivity of the workplace, including but not limited to:
- Interpersonal conflicts
- Poor performance
- The benefits of learning about and eliminating sexual harassment, including but not limited to:
- A more positive work environment
- Greater productivity
- Potentially lower exposure to liability
- Employers and supervisors held liable when they knew or should have known about acts of harassment occurring
- An explanation of the employer’s policy against sexual harassment, including:
- Description of the procedures available for reporting instances of sexual harassment
- Types of disciplinary actions which can be taken against those who engage in sexual harassment
- The perceptual and communication differences among all persons, as developed in federal sexual harassment cases, including:
- The concepts of “reasonable woman”
- The concepts of “reasonable man”
Clear Law Institute’s online sexual harassment training courses cover the required content and more. Our training also covers not just sexual harassment, but all forms of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. We also address Bystander Intervention, workplace civility, and bullying.
Do I need to maintain records of the training?
Per the Commission’s recommendation, employers are encouraged to maintain records of training for a minimum of one year, including:
- Documents to show the content of the training, such as the curriculum
- The names, addresses, and qualifications of the trainer or person conducting the training
- The names and titles of the supervisors trained
- The date/dates that each individual was trained
Additional Posting Requirements for Employers with 3 or More Employees
Employers with 3 or more employees must post notices to employees regarding the illegality of sexual harassment and the remedies available to victims of sexual harassment. The heading of the notice must include: SEXUAL HARASSMENT IS ILLEGAL, in large bold-faced type.
The poster must include, but is not limited to:
- The statutory definition of sexual harassment and examples of different types of sexual harassment
- Notice that sexual harassment is prohibited by the State of Connecticut’s Discriminatory Employment Practices Law, subdivision (8) of subsection (a) of section 46a-60 of the Connecticut General Statutes
- Notice that sexual harassment is prohibited by Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, as amended, 42 United States Code section 2000e
- The remedies available, including but not limited to:
- Cease and desist orders
- Back pay
- Compensatory damages
- Hiring, promotion or reinstatement
- Language to the effect that persons who commit sexual harassment may be subject to civil or criminal penalties
- The address and telephone number of the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities
- A statement that Connecticut law requires that a formal written complaint be filed with the Commission within 180 days of the date when the alleged sexual harassment occurred
The Commission strongly recommends that the poster include:
- A statement concerning the employer’s policies and procedures regarding sexual harassment
- A statement concerning the disciplinary action that may be taken if sexual harassment has been committed
- A contact person at the place of employment to whom one can report complaints of sexual harassment or direct questions or concerns regarding sexual harassment
Why Clear Law Institute?
Hundreds of employers rely on Clear Law Institute to provide online sexual harassment training to their employees across the country because our training:
- Complies with all 50 states’ laws, including Connecticut law
- Provides users with the ability to ask questions and have those questions answered, as required by Connecticut law
- Is kept up-to-date with any changes in the law at no additional charge
- Utilizes cutting-edge instructional design principles
- Efficiently tracks who has and who has not completed the training each year, as handled by Clear Law’s Learning Management System. This prevents employers from having to collect and track certificates manually.
What if the law changes and my organization’s training courses need to be updated?
If needed, Clear Law will modify its training to comply with any changes in Connecticut’s laws at no additional cost. Clear Law Institute’s hundreds of clients can sleep well knowing that we monitor laws around the country to ensure that our training stays up-to-date with changes in the law.
What should employers do now?
Employers should take the following steps:
- Determine if the Connecticut laws apply to your organization.
- Ensure written notice that addresses the required content requirements to be provided to all employees annually.
- Ensure that your harassment training is updated to address the content requirements of Connecticut law. [Clear Law Institute offers online sexual harassment training that covers these requirements for Connecticut supervisors.]
- If using online training, determine who will answer questions submitted by users. [Users of Clear Law’s online sexual harassment training can ask questions and have those questions answered within two business days by Clear Law or a client official.]
- Train all supervisors, managers, and partners within 6 months of start date of the supervisory role.
Where can I learn more?
Clear Law Institute continually monitors updates to federal and state laws to ensure that its online training is legally accurate and up-to-date. Clear Law Institute’s online course, Preventing Workplace Harassment, is used by hundreds of employers across the nation, including several Fortune 500 companies. Learn more about Preventing Workplace Harassment and view a free course demo.