Connecticut Online Sexual Harassment Training

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    Connecticut Requires Sexual Harassment Training for All Employees

    On June 18, 2019, Connecticut enacted the Time’s Up Act, expanding sexual harassment training requirements for employers with employees working in Connecticut. Employers must now provide two hours of sexual harassment training to all employees in Connecticut.

    In October 2019, the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) issued guidance on the Time’s Up Act. This article discusses the Time’s Up Act’s new training and posting obligations, as well as expanded employee protections.

    Connecticut Sexual Harassment Training Law FAQs

    Which employers must provide sexual harassment training in Connecticut?

    Connecticut employers with 3 or more employees must provide 2 hours of sexual harassment prevention training to all employees within six months of their start date.

    What is the deadline for providing sexual harassment training to existing employees?

    Employers must provide sexual harassment prevention training to Connecticut employees within six months of hire.

    (Employers were required to provide two hours of sexual harassment training to all Connecticut employees who had not previously received training after October 2018 by May 20,  2021.)

    What are the requirements in Connecticut for providing sexual harassment prevention training to all new employees hired?

    New employees hired must receive sexual harassment training within six months of hire.

    What are the sexual harassment retraining requirements in Connecticut?

    Employers must provide periodic supplemental training updating all employees on the contents of the sexual harassment training not less than every ten years.

    Connecticut regulations expressly encourage employers to provide retraining at least once every three years, and prudent employers will provide training at least once every three years.  Additionally, the EEOC guidelines advise employers to provide periodic retraining.

    How long must the Connecticut sexual harassment prevention training be?

    The sexual harassment prevention 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 sexual harassment training?

    The training and education must include information relating to the federal and state statutory provisions on sexual harassment and remedies available to victims of sexual harassment.  More specifically, the training must include information on the following:

    • Description of all federal and state statutory provisions prohibiting sexual harassment in the workplace that apply to the employer;
    • Definition of sexual harassment as explicitly set forth in Connecticut law;
    • Discussion of the types of conduct that may constitute sexual harassment under applicable law, including the fact that the harasser or the victim of harassment may be either a man or a woman and that harassment can occur involving persons of the same or opposite sex;
    • Description of the remedies available in sexual harassment cases, including, but not limited to, cease and desist orders; hiring, promotion, or reinstatement; compensatory damages and back pay;
    • Advice that individuals who commit acts of sexual harassment may be subject to both civil and criminal penalties; and
    • Discussion of strategies to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.

    Traliant’s online sexual harassment training courses cover the required content and more. Our training covers not just sexual harassment, but other forms of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. We also address Bystander Intervention, workplace civility, and bullying.

    Must users of online sexual harassment prevention training be able to ask questions?

    Yes. In October 2019, the CHRO issued guidance clarifying that online sexual harassment training is compliant with the state’s sexual harassment training law only if the online training is “interactive.” In defining “interactive,” the CHRO stated that “the training must be in a format that allows participants to ask questions and receive answers…within a reasonable time period.” The CHRO’s recent guidance is similar to an opinion it issued years ago that online training will 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, Traliant’s online sexual harassment training allows users to ask questions, which are answered within one business day by Traliant’s compliance team. As required under some jurisdictions’ laws, Traliant also maintains a record of the questions submitted and answers provided.

    What are the sexual harassment prevention training recordkeeping requirements in Connecticut?

    While there are no express recordkeeping requirements, the CHRO encourages employers to maintain training records for at least one year.  Records should include the following:

    • documents sufficient to show the content of the training given, such as the curriculum
    • contact information and qualifications of the training provider
    • names and titles of employees trained and the date or dates that each individual was trained.

    Posting and email requirements for Connecticut employers with three or more employees

    Posting. Connecticut employers with three or more employees must post in a “prominent and accessible location” the poster 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, no 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 website, if the employer has one.

    Alternatively, the employer can provide its employees by email, text message, or in writing with the link to the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities website that describes the illegality of sexual harassment and the remedies available to victims of sexual harassment.

    Must the CHRO allowed to enter an employer’s business to inspect compliance with posting and training requirements be accessible to employees with disabilities?

    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 in Connecticut

    Employers that do not provide the required notices and training can receive a monetary fine of up to $750. 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.

    Expanded Anti-Retaliation Provisions

    In addition to expanding training and posting requirements, the Act also expands employee protections. For example, if an employer takes corrective action in response to an employee’s claim of sexual harassment, the employer may not change the employee’s conditions of employment unless the employee agrees, in writing, to the modification. “Corrective action” is defined to include employee relocation, assigning an employee to a different work schedule, or other substantive changes to an employee’s terms and conditions of employment.

    Deadline for filing claims extended to 300 days and attorney fees and punitive damages made available

    The Time’s Up Act extends the deadline for filing a discrimination complaint with the CHRO to 300 days. Also, employees who prevail on claims before the CHRO may now recover reasonable attorney fees and costs. In addition, the Act now allows employees who prevail in court to recover punitive damages.

    About the Author

    Michael Johnson, Chief Strategy Officer of Traliant, is a former U.S. Department of Justice attorney who brought one of DOJ’s first “pattern or practice” sexual harassment cases. He has provided training and consulting on harassment prevention or investigations to organizations around the world, such as the EEOC, the United Nations, and Google. He is a graduate of Duke University and Harvard Law School.