Connecticut law now requires sexual harassment training for all employees
On June 18, 2019, Connecticut enacted a new state law expanding its sexual harassment training requirements. Beginning October 1, 2019, employers must provide two hours of sexual harassment training to all employees, not just supervisors. New employees hired after October 1, 2019 must be trained within six months of hire. All current employees must be trained by October 1, 2020.
This article details employers’ posting and training obligations under the new law.
Which employers 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. (The previous Connecticut law only applied to employers who had 50 or more employees and only required training for supervisors.)
What is the deadline for providing the training to existing employees?
Employers must provide sexual harassment training to all employees in Connecticut by October 1, 2020. If an employee has received such training since October 1, 2018, he or she is not required to receive the training again.
What are the requirements for training new employees?
New employees hired after October 1, 2019 must receive sexual harassment training within six months of hire. Thus, an employee hired on October 1, 2019 would need to receive training by April 1, 2020.
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What are the retraining requirements?
Employers must provide periodic supplemental training that updates all employees on the contents of the sexual harassment training not less than every ten years. From a risk prevention perspective, prudent employers will provide training more frequently. Indeed, EEOC guidelines have indicated that employers should provide employees harassment prevention training periodically and some states require annual or every other year sexual harassment training.
How long must the training be?
The training must be at least two hours in length for both non-supervisory and supervisory employees.
What must be included in the content of the training?
The training and education shall include information concerning the federal and state statutory provisions concerning sexual harassment and remedies available to victims of sexual harassment.
Clear Law Institute’s online sexual harassment training courses cover the required content and more. Our training also covers not just sexual harassment, but other forms of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. We also address Bystander Intervention, workplace civility, and bullying.
Can online sexual harassment training qualify?
Yes. The Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (“CHRO”) years ago issued an opinion that online training can comply with the state’s training law as long as the training “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.
Posting and email requirements for employers with three or more employees
Posting. Connecticut employers with three or more employees must post in a “prominent and accessible location” information concerning the illegality of sexual harassment and the remedies available to victims of sexual harassment.
Email. Connecticut employers with three or more employees must also provide, not later than three months after the employee’s start date, a copy of the information concerning the illegality of sexual harassment and remedies available to victims of sexual harassment to each employee by email. The subject line of the email should be, “Sexual Harassment Policy,” or something similar. Employers must email this information to the employee assuming that either (i) the employer has provided the employee an email account or (ii) the employee has provided the employer with his or her personal email address. If the employer has not provided all employees an email account, the employer must post the information concerning the illegality of sexual harassment and remedies available to victims of sexual harassment on the employer’s Internet web site, if the employer has one.
Alternatively, the employer could choose to provide its employees by email, text message or in writing with the link to the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities web site page that describes the illegality of sexual harassment and the remedies available to victims of sexual harassment.
CHRO allowed to enter an employer’s business to inspect compliance with posting and training requirements
The CHRO is now authorized to enter an employer’s business during work hours to ensure compliance with the posting requirements and to review all records, policies, procedures and training materials maintained by the employer.
The CHRO can conduct an inspection only when it “reasonably believes” that the employer is in violation of certain legal provisions, or during the 12 month period following the date on which any complaint has been filed against an employer.
Penalties for not complying with the notice and training requirements
Employers that do not provide the required notices and training can receive a monetary fine. And, of course, employers who don’t provide the notices and training may have a more difficult time raising a defense or avoiding punitive damages in a harassment lawsuit, as it may be more difficult for them to show that they took “reasonable steps” to prevent harassment from occurring.
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 and learning games
- 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.