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Jun 20 2018

State Legislature fails to pass the “Largest Overhaul in Modern Connecticut History of Sexual Harassment Laws”

By: Maria Garcia-Quintner

Posted in: Workplace Harassment

 

In March 2018, my colleague Jessica Slippen addressed the Connecticut Legislature’s effort to overhaul the state sex harassment and sex assault laws, in response to the “me too”  and “times up” movements.  State Democrats called it the “the Largest Overhaul in Modern Connecticut History of Sexual Harassment Laws”.

Among other things, the Bill, entitled “An Act Combatting Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault” sought to expand sexual harassment training requiring employers with 3 or more employees to train all employees at all levels (not just supervisors).  It also sought to increase the length of time complainants would have to file sexual harassment complaints from 180 days to three years.  While there was disagreement on what would ultimately be enacted, the consensus seemed to be that this was an area where lawmakers could agree.  Right?

Wrong.  The Legislative Session ended and the Bill, which had passed the Senate 31-5, did not make it past the General Assembly.  Perhaps they ran out of time; perhaps legislators didn’t want to take on any perceived radical stances ahead of the elections.

Whatever the reason(s) for the legislature’s inaction, employers who were proactively seeking to find ways to comply with the almost certain mandate that all employees (not just supervisors) be given sexual harassment training can relax - for now.  They should use this likely grace period to make sure that their policies and practices conform with existing state and federal laws.  It is sound business practice to do so.

Employees with potential sexual harassment claims need to know that they have 180 days from the date, not three years, of the alleged incident to file their claims with CHRO.


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