If you’re a Connecticut employer, new requirements regarding training and posting — as well as changes to the underlying anti-discrimination law — should be a must-read.

On Tuesday, June 4, 2019, the General Assembly passed a series of revisions to Senate Bill 3, which itself passed over the weekend. Together, these series of changes (S.B. 1111 and S.B. 3) will impact employers of all sizes and cases at the CHRO. 

In essence, you had a bill that was amended after it already passed. Rather than get into what was in the original bill vs. final bill, I thought it might be helpful just to recap what is in the final version of the bills, as combined.

Governor Lamont is expected to sign these bills in the next week or so.

To be clear, this recap should not be a substitute for legal advice and this recap only addresses some of the most relevant private employer provisions; there’s some provisions in there regarding EEO officers for state agencies that are beyond the scope of this recap. Credit should also be given to the state’s OLR Bill Analysis as well. 

TRAINING

Currently, employers with at least 50 employees are required to give their supervisors two hours of training on state and federal sexual harassment laws and remedies.

The new law will require employers of all sizes to give training to supervisors by October 1, 2020 (or within six months of their assumption of supervisory duties, after that time).

For employers with 3 or more employees, the training must also be given to all other employees also by October 1, 2020 (or within six months of hire, after that time.)

In both instances, the training must be updated every ten years by employers, though it doesn’t seem to be the same two hours — just a “supplemental” update.  Also, any employee (including supervisor) trained since October 1, 2018 is exempt from being “retrained” a second time.

The bill requires CHRO to develop a free online training video or other interactive method. If that’s done on time, employers will have to give the training within six months of an employee’s start date.

If employers don’t provide training, it will now be a “discriminatory practice” that may allow employees to bring an action in the CHRO (or court).  The fine for failing to provide training will be $750.

NOTICES TO EMPLOYEES

The new law (piggybacking on existing law which requires a notice be posted regarding sexual harassment) will require employers of three or more employees to send a copy of this to employees via e-mail within 3 months of hire — so long as the employee has an e-mail address (company-provided or personal).  The subject line should be titled “Sexual Harassment Policy” or words very similar to that effect.  If the employer doesn’t give employees an e-mail address, the information must be included on its website.  If the CHRO develops something on their own, the employer can just provide this link.

The fine for failing to do so will be $750 as well.

CORRECTIVE ACTION IN SEXUAL HARASSMENT CLAIMS

When an employer takes prompt remedial action in response to a claim of sexual harassment, the new law requires that the employer can only modify the target’s condition of employment upon agreement in writing from the employee.  That means, transferring an employee to a different department can only be done upon written consent.

BUT, even if the employer did not obtain the written consent, the bill still allows the CHRO to find that the employer’s corrective action was reasonable and not “to the detriment” to the complainant, based on the evidence.

TIMEFRAME FOR FILING DISCRIMINATION AND HARASSMENT CLAIMS
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UPDATED 11/22/13, 3p

Earlier this week, members of the CBA’s Federal Practice Section were informed that the Initial Discovery Protocols in Employment Cases are now being used by all the judges in the district.

As such, lawyers and clients should now expect to deal with them in various types of discrimination cases filed in federal

UPDATED

A few weeks ago, the U.S. Courts’ publication “The Third Branch” updated the public on a pilot program that has been going on for a while that established initial discovery protocols that employers and employees need to follow in discrimination cases, without the need for case-specific discovery requests.

Sharpen your pens

(I was tipped off to this by Alli Gerkman, who is the Online Content Manager of IAALS, the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System.  The IAALS worked with a group of employment lawyers to develop these protocols. My thanks to Alli for the detailed information and I recommend their website for further details.)

Nice article, you may be thinking, but so what? It’s just a pilot? Well, as the article indicates, “any district judge may choose to adopt the protocols, which do not require changes to local rules.”

The pilot is getting strong support; the Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Civil Rules has encouraged judges to join the pilot.  As the article goes on to note, “Judge Jeremy Fogel, Director of the Federal Judicial Center, sent a memo to all chief district judges, advising them of the availability of the employment protocols.”
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It’s so rare nowadays that the Connecticut Supreme Court rules on discrimination cases that, when I first took a look at its new decision in Duart v. Department of Corrections (download here) — officially released next week — I got excited.  After all, the case is based on a claims of gender, race and sexual

As I mentioned Monday, I had the opportunity to attend ABA Techshow, one of the premier technology and the law conferences around. 

E-Discovery (or "Electronic Discovery") continues to be a hot topic at such conferences.

(Discovery is the process by which parties to a lawsuit exchange and receive information before a trial.  The most common

In my post earlier today, I noted that courts have been all over the map on whether someone’s Facebook page info was discoverable. 

This afternoon, Facebook announced a new feature that will allow individuals to download all of their own data onto their computers (or into a file.) According to TechCrunch:

Facebook Product Manager David

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals (which includes Connecticut) recently ruled on two cases of keen interest to employers. The first relates to enforcement of EEOC subpoenas and the second relates to the classification of some financial services workers.

First, in EEOC v. United Parcel Services, the Court allowed the EEOC to press forward with

A fascinating article yesterday in Law.com entitled "Are Social Networking Sites Discoverable?" is well-worth a read to any company involved in litigating against former or even current employees.

While the authors write in the context of a product liability case, the premise and subject is equally applicable to claims involving employees as well as the

In the midst of the financial crisis, another bill signed by President Bush has been, for the most part, overlooked, but warrants understanding by in-house counsel for employers and HR professionals that may assist with case management.

Specifically, S. 2450 and new Federal Rule of Evidence 502 give protections to employers (and others) against waiver of