The impact of #MeToo continues to reverberate across industries and state legislatures. On June 18, Connecticut became the latest state to enact stronger workplace harassment laws and new sexual harassment training requirements. Known as the Time’s Up Act, the new legislation affects all Connecticut employers and applies to both employees and supervisors — a big change from the previous law.
Here are 6 things HR professionals and their organizations should know about Connecticut’s new sexual harassment training requirements:
- Governor Ned Lamont signed the new law on June 18, 2019. It goes into effect on October 1, 2019.
- Connecticut employers with three or more employees must provide two hours of sexual harassment prevention training to all employees, not just supervisors. Previously, the training requirement applied to organizations with 50 or more employees, and only mandated they train supervisors.
- All employers in Connecticut, regardless of size, must provide two hours of sexual harassment training to supervisory employees by October 1, 2020, or within six months of an employee assuming a supervisory role.
- Employees hired on or after October 1, 2019 must be trained within six months of hire, and then be retrained periodically, at a minimum every 10 years.
- Existing employees must be trained by October 1, 2020, and then retrained periodically, at a minimum every 10 years.
- Employees who received two hours of sexual harassment training after October 1, 2018, do not have to be retrained by October 1, 2020, however, they will need supplemental training at least once every 10 years.
Details on what topics the training must cover are not yet available from the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO), which is expected to develop training and educational materials.
In general, an effective sexual harassment training program should cover a range of topics related to addressing and preventing workplace harassment. This includes a definition of what sexual harassment is and the different forms it can take, examples of appropriate and inappropriate workplace behavior, and how to recognize and report harassment and prevent future incidents.
Effective sexual harassment training should also provide a 21st century learning experience through interactivity, realistic video scenarios and relevant content that deepens employees’ understanding of the effects of harassment on individuals, teams and the entire organization and what they can do to prevent it.
The #MeToo movement continues to drive changes in state employment laws across the US and motivate organizations to improve workplace conduct and culture. Starting on October 1, 2019, Connecticut employers with three or more employees must provide two hours of sexual harassment prevention training to all employees, not just supervisors. And all employers, regardless of the size of their workforce, must provide two hours of sexual harassment training to supervisors by October 1, 2020, or within six months of an employee taking on a supervisory role.
With the start date less than three months away, Connecticut organizations should have plans in place to review and update sexual harassment policies and training programs to ensure they meet the new requirements.