Employers with 50 or more employees in Connecticut must provide sexual harassment training to supervisors within six months of the individual assuming a supervisory position. While other employers are not mandated to provide such training, it is strongly encouraged to do so. Refresher training is encouraged, but not required. It is also beneficial to provide sexual harassment training to non-supervisory employees, although the content of the training should be tailored to the audience. Supervisory employees should be told the extent of liability that may be incurred by the employer for successful harassment claims; employers probably do not want to instruct rank-and-file employees how to sue and collect significant damages.
Regulations of the Connecticut Commission of Human Rights and Opportunities require that the sexual harassment training contain certain specific elements. Therefore, it is best to have a Connecticut employment attorney provide the training, rather than purchasing a generic training program.
Employers may also wish to include content on other types of harassment (such as harassment based on age, race, disability, or religion) and bullying, either as part of the training or as a separate program. Unfortunately, bullying is a problem in many workplaces. While it is harder for an employee to successfully sue an employer for bullying or harassment that is not based on a legally protected status, such conduct creates a significant drain on employers due to poor morale, the need to investigate and respond to complaints, and increased absenteeism. Recently, our practice has seen a rash of requests for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act and reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act for anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder purportedly stemming from workplace interactions.
Everyone benefits when the workplace is a civil and safe place to be. Employers should be sure to meet and preferably exceed the training requirements imposed by law.
Our team of labor and employment attorneys offers training on all topics affecting the workplace and can help customize programs to meet your unique needs.