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More Connecticut Employers May Have To Provide Workplace Anti-Harassment Training. Will Your Company Be One Of Them?

As the #metoo and #timesup movements continue gaining momentum, Connecticut employers should not be surprised that the start of the 2018 Connecticut General Assembly session saw the introduction of a bill to increase workplace harassment prevention training in Connecticut. Should HB 5043 pass in its current form, it would be the first substantial revision to Connecticut’s workplace harassment prevention training requirements since their enactment in 1992.

Connecticut, one of only three states with similar mandates, currently requires employers of 50 or more employees to provide two hours of workplace sexual harassment prevention training to supervisors within six months of the supervisor being hired as a supervisor or promoted to a supervisory position. The new bill seeks to significantly expand this training requirement increasing the number of employers covered, the topics that must be addressed and the frequency of the training.  Additionally, the bill would increase the content and frequency of information employers must post regarding workplace harassment.

HR 5043, also known as the “Time’s Up Act”, includes five significant revisions to current anti-harassment training requirements by:

  • • Increasing the number of covered employers to those with 15 or more employees, instead of 50 or more employees;
  • • Requiring two hours of “awareness and anti-harassment compliance training” for all employees, instead of only supervisors;
  • • Expanding the breadth of the training to include all types of harassment, such as race, color, religious creed, age, sex, gender identity or expression, marital status, and national origin;
  • • Detailing that the training include information about the employer’s policy against harassment, examples of the types of conduct that constitute and do not constitute harassment, strategies to prevent harassment, bystander intervention training and a discussion of what is acceptable and expected behavior in the workplace; and
  • • Mandating covered employers to provide refresher training to all employees at least every five years.

In addition to the significant revisions to the workplace training requirements, the “Time’s Up Act” expands the notification requirements for employers of three or more employees and would now require posting information concerning the illegality of all types of workplace harassment and the remedies available to employees and to “directly communicate such information and remedies to employees on an annual basis”.  This last requirement suggests that employers would have to email or distribute the information directly to employees annually.

While this bill is in the early stages of the political process and will likely undergo many revisions, it presents a good reminder to Connecticut employers of the state’s current workplace training requirements.  That is, if you are an employer of 50 or more employees you must provide sexual harassment prevention training to supervisors within six months of that individual being hired or promoted.  If you have any questions or concerns regarding your workplace training requirements or would like a sexual harassment prevention training program conducted in your workplace, Berchem Moses PC’s labor and employment attorneys are available to discuss options with you.