Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

File No. 654

    February Session, 2018

Substitute House Bill No. 5043

House of Representatives, April 30, 2018

The Committee on Appropriations reported through REP. WALKER of the 93rd Dist., Chairperson of the Committee on the part of the House, that the substitute bill ought to pass.

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

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 46a-54 of the 2018 supplement to the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(a) The commission shall have the following powers and duties:

(1) To establish and maintain such offices as the commission may deem necessary;

(2) To organize the commission into a division of affirmative action monitoring and contract compliance, a division of discriminatory practice complaints and such other divisions, bureaus or units as may be necessary for the efficient conduct of business of the commission;

(3) To employ legal staff and commission legal counsel as necessary to perform the duties and responsibilities under section 46a-55. One commission legal counsel shall serve as supervising attorney. Each commission legal counsel shall be admitted to practice law in this state;

(4) To appoint such investigators and other employees and agents as it deems necessary, fix their compensation within the limitations provided by law and prescribe their duties;

(5) To adopt, publish, amend and rescind regulations consistent with and to effectuate the provisions of this chapter;

(6) To establish rules of practice to govern, expedite and effectuate the procedures set forth in this chapter;

(7) To recommend policies and make recommendations to agencies and officers of the state and local subdivisions of government to effectuate the policies of this chapter;

(8) To receive, initiate as provided in section 46a-82, investigate and mediate discriminatory practice complaints;

(9) By itself or with or by hearing officers or human rights referees, to hold hearings, subpoena witnesses and compel their attendance, administer oaths, take the testimony of any person under oath and require the production for examination of any books and papers relating to any matter under investigation or in question;

(10) To make rules as to the procedure for the issuance of subpoenas by individual commissioners, hearing officers and human rights referees;

(11) To require written answers to interrogatories under oath relating to any complaint under investigation pursuant to this chapter alleging any discriminatory practice as defined in subdivision (8) of section 46a-51, and to adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, for the procedure for the issuance of interrogatories and compliance with interrogatory requests;

(12) To utilize such voluntary and uncompensated services of private individuals, agencies and organizations as may from time to time be offered and needed and with the cooperation of such agencies, (A) to study the problems of discrimination in all or specific fields of human relationships, and (B) to foster through education and community effort or otherwise good will among the groups and elements of the population of the state;

(13) To require the posting by an employer, employment agency or labor organization of such notices regarding statutory provisions as the commission shall provide;

(14) To require the posting, by any respondent or other person subject to the requirements of section 46a-64, 46a-64c, 46a-81d or 46a-81e, of such notices of statutory provisions as it deems desirable;

(15) (A) To require an employer having three or more employees to: [post] (i) Post in a prominent and accessible location information concerning the illegality of [sexual] harassment on the basis of any status described in subsection (b) of section 46a-60 or section 46a-81c, which harassment may include, but need not be limited to, sexual harassment, and the remedies available to [victims] the targets of [sexual] such harassment, [; and (B) to require an employer having fifty or more employees to] and (ii) directly communicate such information and remedies to employees on an annual basis;

(B) To require an employer having fifteen or more employees to provide (i) (I) on or before October 1, 2019, two cumulative hours of awareness and antiharassment compliance training and education to all supervisory employees, [within one year of October 1, 1992, and to] and (II) after October 1, 2019, such training and education for all new supervisory employees [within] not later than six months [of] after their assumption of a supervisory position, provided any employer who has provided such training and education to any such employees after October 1, [1991] 2017, shall not be required to provide such training and education a second time; [.] (ii) (I) on or before October 1, 2019, such training and education to all nonsupervisory employees, and (II) after October 1, 2019, such training and education for all new nonsupervisory employees not later than six months after their date of hire, provided any employer who has provided such training and education to any such employees after October 1, 2017, shall not be required to provide such training and education a second time; and (iii) periodic, supplemental training that updates all supervisory and nonsupervisory employees on the content of such training and education not less than every five years; and

(C) Such training and education shall include, [information concerning] but need not be limited to: (i) Training on the federal and state statutory provisions concerning [sexual] harassment, [and] remedies available to [victims] targets of [sexual] harassment, including sexual harassment, the employer's policy against harassment, examples of the types of conduct that constitute and do not constitute harassment and strategies to prevent harassment, (ii) bystander intervention training, and (iii) a discussion of workplace civility that shall include what is acceptable and expected behavior in the workplace. As used in this subdivision, "sexual harassment" has the same meaning as provided in subdivision (8) of subsection (b) of section 46a-60, and "employer" includes the General Assembly;

(16) To require each state agency that employs one or more employees to (A) provide a minimum of three hours of diversity training and education (i) to all supervisory and nonsupervisory employees, not later than July 1, 2002, with priority for such training to supervisory employees, and (ii) to all newly hired supervisory and nonsupervisory employees, not later than six months after their assumption of a position with a state agency, with priority for such training to supervisory employees. Such training and education shall include information concerning the federal and state statutory provisions concerning discrimination and hate crimes directed at protected classes and remedies available to victims of discrimination and hate crimes, standards for working with and serving persons from diverse populations and strategies for addressing differences that may arise from diverse work environments; and (B) submit an annual report to the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities concerning the status of the diversity training and education required under subparagraph (A) of this subdivision. The information in such annual reports shall be reviewed by the commission for the purpose of submitting an annual summary report to the General Assembly. Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, if a state agency has provided such diversity training and education to any of its employees prior to October 1, 1999, such state agency shall not be required to provide such training and education a second time to such employees. The requirements of this subdivision shall be accomplished within available appropriations. As used in this subdivision, "employee" shall include any part-time employee who works more than twenty hours per week;

(17) To require each agency to submit information demonstrating its compliance with subdivision (16) of this [section] subsection as part of its affirmative action plan and to receive and investigate complaints concerning the failure of a state agency to comply with the requirements of subdivision (16) of this [section] subsection; and

(18) To enter into contracts for and accept grants of private or federal funds and to accept gifts, donations or bequests, including donations of service by attorneys.

(b) If the commission provides any training required under subdivisions (15) and (16) of subsection (a) of this section, such training shall be provided within the available appropriations of the commission.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

October 1, 2018

46a-54

APP

Joint Favorable Subst.

 

The following Fiscal Impact Statement and Bill Analysis are prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for purposes of information, summarization and explanation and do not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either chamber thereof for any purpose. In general, fiscal impacts are based upon a variety of informational sources, including the analyst's professional knowledge. Whenever applicable, agency data is consulted as part of the analysis, however final products do not necessarily reflect an assessment from any specific department.


OFA Fiscal Note

State Impact:

Agency Affected

Fund-Effect

FY 19 $

FY 20 $

Human Rights & Opportunities, Com.

GF - Potential Cost

105,090

140,120

State Comptroller - Fringe Benefits1

GF - Potential Cost

38,179

50,906

Note: GF=General Fund

Municipal Impact: None

Explanation

The bill extends workplace harassment provisions, requiring an increased number of employers and employees to receive additional information, education, or trainings. Employers can either hire private firms to conduct trainings or request free trainings from the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO).

To the extent these requirements result in a significant increase in the number of training requests CHRO receives, there may be a potential cost for two additional training staff of $143,269 in FY 19 (partial year) and $191,026 in FY 20 (annualized), including fringe benefits.

The bill requires the free trainings to be provided within available appropriations. It does not appear that this mandates that the agency perform the activity regardless of available funding, therefore the cost described above is potential.

The Out Years

The annualized ongoing fiscal impact identified above would continue into the future subject to number of training requests.

OLR Bill Analysis

sHB 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:

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) sexual harassment is illegal and (2) provide information on 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 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:

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.

By law, CHRO can also require a state agency that employs at least one person to provide a minimum of three hours of employee diversity training. The bill requires CHRO, whenever it provides anti-harassment or diversity training, to provide the training within its available appropriations. Existing law already requires the state agency diversity training to be accomplished within available appropriations.

BACKGROUND

Legislative History

The House referred the bill (File 166) to the Appropriations Committee, which reported it out on April 17 with a favorable substitute that added the language requiring any CHRO anti-harassment training and diversity training to be done within available appropriations.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Labor and Public Employees Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

13

Nay

0

(03/20/2018)

Appropriations Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

52

Nay

0

(04/17/2018)

TOP

1 The fringe benefit costs for most state employees are budgeted centrally in accounts administered by the Comptroller. The estimated active employee fringe benefit cost associated with most personnel changes is 36.33% of payroll in FY 19 and FY 20.