OLR Bill Analysis

HB 5043

AN ACT PROMOTING A FAIR, CIVIL AND HARASSMENT-FREE WORKPLACE.

SUMMARY

Current law authorizes the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) to require employers to take certain steps, including posting notices and providing training, to make employees aware that workplace sexual harassment is illegal and remedies to harassment are available. This bill expands these requirements by:

1. broadening them to cover harassment based on any status protected under employment discrimination laws;

2. applying the training requirements to nonsupervisory employees, in addition to supervisory ones; and

3. imposing the training requirements on employers with 15 or more employees, instead of 50 or more.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2018

WORKPLACE NOTICE REQUIREMENT

Existing law authorizes CHRO to require all employers with at least three employees to post in a prominent and accessible location, notices that (1) state sexual harassment is illegal and (2) provide available legal remedies. The bill broadens this notice requirement to include harassment based on any protected status (i.e., race; color; religious creed; age; sex; gender identity or expression; marital status; national origin; ancestry; present or past history of mental disability; intellectual disability; learning disability; physical disability, including, but not limited to, blindness; status as a veteran (CGS 46a-60(b)); and sexual orientation (CGS 46a-81c)). It also specifies that harassment may include sexual harassment.

The bill additionally requires employers to directly communicate this information annually to employees.

Current law refers to “victims” of sexual harassment. The bill changes this to “targets” of harassment. It also makes various conforming and technical changes.

TRAINING REQUIREMENT

Under current law, CHRO can require employers with at least 50 employees to provide their supervisory employees with two hours of training regarding federal and state sexual harassment laws and remedies available to victims. The bill (1) lowers the employer threshold to those with at least 15 employees and (2) requires that training also be provided to nonsupervisory employees. It requires the training to cover the following additional specifics:

1. laws and remedies available for all types of harassment, including sexual harassment;

2. information on the employer's policy against harassment;

3. examples of conduct that does, and does not, constitute harassment;

4. strategies to prevent harassment;

5. bystander intervention training; and

6. a discussion of workplace civility, including what constitutes acceptable and expected workplace behavior.

The bill requires the new training for supervisors and nonsupervisors to take place by October 1, 2019. After October 1, 2019, the training must take place within six months for either a newly-hired employee or newly-appointed supervisor, except that any employer who provided the bill's training after October 1, 2017 is not required to provide the training a second time.

The bill also requires that these employers provide periodic supplemental training for all employees at least once every five years.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Labor and Public Employees Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

13

Nay

0

(03/20/2018)