Last week, I posted about a proposed Governor’s bill that would expand the training requirements for some employers.
However, that appears to be just a small part of a wider political battle that is about to be raised.
Yesterday, a group of Senate Democrats proposed, according to a handout, the “Largest Overhaul in Modern Connecticut History of Sexual Harassment Laws” that would significantly alter the landscape for nearly all Connecticut employers.
They’ve titled their proposal the “Time’s Up Act: Combating Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault”.
The bill has yet to be drafted, but the outlines are being shared by Senate Democrats and will be pursued first in the Judiciary Committee (not the Labor & Public Employee Committee as you might expect).
According to their handout, the proposed bill will contain the following relating to discrimination or harassment laws:
- Require that any notice of sexual harassment remedies and policies by e-mailed to each employee at least once a year, in addition to the required posting.
- Increase the fines that the CHRO can impose for failing to provide notice (currently at $250)
- Require sexual harassment training to all employers with three or more employees (instead of the current 50 or more threshold)
- Require training of all employees, not just supervisory employees with broader topics
- “Give CHRO the resources it needs to go out into the community and conduct on-site trainings”
- Increase the statute of limitations from 180 days to 2 years for not just harassment complaints, but all discrimination complaints
- Eliminate the 90 day deadline after receiving a release from the CHRO to file a lawsuit but extend it to two years after a release from the CHRO.
- Permit the CHRO to ask for injunctive relief for employers of 3 or more employees, not the current threshold of 50.
- Allow for punitive damages in all discrimination and harassment complaints
- Increase funding for the CHRO
- Create a similar model to California in passing a Private Attorney General Act, which would allow litigants to, after giving notice to the CHRO, bring a claim for violations against himself or herself, but also against other employees as well.
- Prohibit settlement agreements that prohibit a party from disclosing information regarding sexual harassment or sexual assault.
This is still in the early stages but expect to see a lot more about this in the weeks and months to come. No doubt, the Connecticut Business and Industry Association will have something to say about this as well.
I’ll have more details as they become available.