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CT Employers: When is the Last Time You Conducted Mandatory Sexual Harassment Training?

Connecticut employers with 50 or more employees have long been required to provide supervisors with sexual harassment training.  Employers, however, often get tripped up on the timing of the training when an employee is promoted to a supervisory position.  This is especially true in the first quarter of the year when promotions often take effect. 

Under this Connecticut law, a supervisory employee is defined as “any individual who has the authority, by using her or his independent judgment, in the interest of the employer, to hire, transfer, suspend, lay off, recall, promote, discharge, assign, reward or discipline other employees, or responsibility to direct them, or to adjust their grievances or effectively to recommend such actions.” 

As a reminder, all new supervisory employees must receive sexual harassment training within six months of their assumption of the supervisory position.   The training must be two hours long and in a classroom type setting which allows for participants to ask questions and receive answers. 

The training must:

  • Cover federal and state law prohibiting sexual harassment in the work place;
  • Provide the definition of sexual harassment as explicitly set forth by Connecticut law;
  • Discuss the types of conduct that may constitute sexual harassment under the 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;
  • Describe 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;
  • Advise employees that individuals who commit acts of sexual harassment may be subject to both civil and criminal penalties; and
  • Discuss strategies to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.

There is also additional suggested content such as role playing to demonstrate what constitutes sexual harassment.

Unless you have been living under a rock the last year, you know the country is in the middle of the #MeToo movement and it is showing no signs of slowing down.  In fact, multiple bills were proposed last year that would have greatly expanded required sexual harassment training in Connecticut.  While none of those bills came to fruition, in light of the new makeup of the legislature, it is likely these bills will gain traction again this year.  Just last year, our bordering state of New York implemented sweeping legislation on this topic requiring sexual harassment training for all employees in the State! 

If you are a Connecticut employer with 50 or more employees and can’t remember the last time you trained your supervisors on sexual harassment, now would be a good time to get training scheduled for the new year.  If you are an employer with less than 50 employees, while the training is not required, proactive preventive measures are always a good idea when it comes to this area of the law. 

Brody and Associates regularly provides training and counseling on maintaining a harassment free environment and on employment law issues in general. If we can be of assistance in this area, please contact us at info@brodyandassociates.com or 203.454.0560.