Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

File No. 604

    February Session, 2018

Substitute Senate Bill No. 132

Senate, April 19, 2018

The Committee on Judiciary reported through SEN. DOYLE of the 9th Dist. and SEN. KISSEL of the 7th Dist., Chairpersons of the Committee on the part of the Senate, that the substitute bill ought to pass.

AN ACT COMBATTING SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND SEXUAL ASSAULT.

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 Section 46a-54 of the 2018 supplement to the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

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, as amended by this act, 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 (i) post in a prominent and accessible location information concerning the illegality of sexual harassment and remedies available to victims of sexual harassment, and (ii) provide, not later than three months after the employee's start date with the employer, a copy of the information concerning the illegality of sexual harassment and remedies available to victims of sexual harassment to each employee by electronic mail with a subject line that includes the words "Sexual Harassment Policy" or words of similar import, if (I) the employer has provided an electronic mail account to the employee, or (II) the employee has provided the employer with an electronic mail address, provided if an employer has not provided an electronic mail account to the employee, the employer shall post the information concerning the illegality of sexual harassment and remedies available to victims of sexual harassment on the employer's Internet web site, if the employer maintains such an Internet web site; and (B) to require an employer having [fifty] three or more employees to provide two hours of training and education to all [supervisory] employees within one year of [October 1, 1992, and to all new supervisory employees within six months of their assumption of a supervisory position] October 1, 2018, 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. Any employee hired by an employer on or after October 1, 2018, shall receive such training and education not later than six months after the date of his or her hire. Such training and education shall include information concerning the federal and state statutory provisions concerning sexual harassment and remedies available to victims of sexual harassment, including, but not limited to, the remedies available from the commission pursuant to the provisions of this chapter. As used in this subdivision, "sexual harassment" has the same meaning as provided in subdivision (8) of subsection (b) of section 46a-60, as amended by this act, 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 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; [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; and

(19) To ensure compliance with the provisions of this chapter, including, but not limited to, the authority to petition the superior court for the judicial district of Hartford for the enforcement of any order issued, or fine imposed, by the commission, and for other appropriate relief.

Sec. 2. Subdivision (8) of subsection (b) of section 46a-60 of the 2018 supplement to the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(8) (A) For an employer, by the employer or the employer's agent, for an employment agency, by itself or its agent, or for any labor organization, by itself or its agent, to harass any employee, person seeking employment or member on the basis of sex or gender identity or expression. "Sexual harassment" shall, for the purposes of this subdivision, be defined as any unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors or any conduct of a sexual nature when [(A)] (i) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment, [(B)] (ii) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual, or [(C)] (iii) such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment;

(B) If a judge or the commission finds that an employer has engaged in a demonstrated pattern of sexual harassment, it shall not be a defense to a subsequent complaint of sexual harassment, filed in accordance with section 46a-82, that (i) the claim of sexual harassment was properly investigated, immediate corrective action was taken and no act of sexual harassment subsequently occurred, (ii) the claim of sexual harassment was not reported to the employer prior to the filing of a complaint with the commission, (iii) an employer has a policy of prohibiting sexual harassment or recently trained its employees on sexual harassment in accordance with subdivision (15) of section 46a-54, as amended by this act, or (iv) the sexual harassment was not severe or pervasive. Such defenses may be introduced by a respondent on the question of damages; and

(C) If an employer takes immediate corrective action in response to an employee's claim of sexual harassment, such corrective action shall not modify the conditions of employment of the employee making the claim of sexual harassment unless such employee agrees, in writing, to any modification in the conditions of employment. Corrective action taken by an employer, may include, but need not be limited to, employee relocation, assigning an employee to a different work schedule or other substantive changes to an employee's terms and conditions of employment;

Sec. 3. Subsection (f) of section 46a-82 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(f) (1) Any complaint filed pursuant to this section [must] alleging a discriminatory practice that occurred prior to October 1, 2018, shall be filed within one hundred and eighty days after the alleged act of discrimination, except that any complaint by a person claiming to be aggrieved by a violation of subsection (a) of section 46a-80 must be filed within thirty days of the alleged act of discrimination.

(2) Any complaint alleging a discriminatory practice that occurred on or after October 1, 2018, shall be filed not later than three years after the date of the alleged act of discrimination.

Sec. 4. Subsection (b) of section 46a-86 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(b) In addition to any other action taken under this section, upon a finding of a discriminatory employment practice, the presiding officer (1) may order the hiring, promotion or reinstatement of any individual, with or without back pay, or restoration to membership in any respondent labor organization, and (2) shall (A) determine the amount of damages suffered by the complainant, including the actual costs incurred by the complainant as a result of the discriminatory practice and reason, and (B) allow reasonable attorney's fees and costs. The amount of attorney's fees allowed shall not be contingent upon the amount of damages requested by or awarded to the complainant. Liability for back pay shall not accrue from a date more than two years prior to the filing or issuance of the complaint. Interim earnings, including unemployment compensation and welfare assistance or amounts which could have been earned with reasonable diligence on the part of the person to whom back pay is awarded shall be deducted from the amount of back pay to which such person is otherwise entitled. The amount of any deduction for interim unemployment compensation or welfare assistance shall be paid by the respondent to the commission which shall transfer such amount to the appropriate state or local agency.

Sec. 5. Subsection (a) of section 46a-89 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(a) (1) Whenever a complaint filed pursuant to section 46a-82, as amended by this act, alleges a violation of section 46a-60 or 46a-81c, and the executive director believes that equitable relief is required to prevent irreparable harm to the complainant or, for an alleged violation of section 46a-60, as amended by this act, or 46a-81c that occurred on or after October 1, 2018, that the imposition of punitive damages or a civil penalty would be appropriate, the commission may bring a petition in the superior court for the judicial district of Hartford, the judicial district in which the discriminatory practice which is the subject of the complaint occurred or the judicial district in which the respondent resides, provided this subdivision shall not apply to complaints against employers with less than [fifty] three employees.

(2) The petition [shall] brought by the commission may seek (A) appropriate temporary injunctive relief against the respondent pending final disposition of the complaint pursuant to the procedures set forth in this chapter. The injunctive relief may include an order temporarily restraining the respondent from doing any act that would render ineffectual any order a presiding officer may render with respect to the complaint, (B) the award of punitive damages payable to the complainant, not to exceed fifty thousand dollars, or (C) both of the remedies provided in subparagraphs (A) and (B) of this subdivision.

(3) Upon service on the respondent of notice pursuant to section 46a-89a, the respondent shall be temporarily restrained from taking any action that would render ineffectual the temporary injunctive relief requested in the petition, provided nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the respondent from having any employment duties enjoined under this section and section 46a-89a, from being carried out by another employee and the notice shall so provide.

Sec. 6. Section 46a-83a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

[If] On or after October 1, 2018, if a complaint is dismissed for failure to accept full relief pursuant to subsection (m) of section 46a-83, and the complainant does not request reconsideration of such dismissal as provided in subsection (h) of section 46a-83, the executive director shall issue a release of jurisdiction and the complainant may, [within ninety days] not later than two years after the date of receipt of the release from the commission, bring an action in accordance with sections 46a-100 and 46a-102 to 46a-104, inclusive, as amended by this act.

Sec. 7. Section 46a-97 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(a) Any employer, employment agency or labor organization which fails to post such notices of statutory provisions as the commission may require pursuant to subsection (13) of section 46a-54, as amended by this act, shall be [subject to a fine of] fined not more than [two hundred fifty] one thousand dollars.

(b) Any person who fails to post such notices of statutory provisions as the commission may require pursuant to subsection (14) of section 46a-54, as amended by this act, shall be fined not more than [two hundred fifty] one thousand dollars.

(c) Any employer who fails to provide information concerning the illegality of sexual harassment and the remedies available to victims of sexual harassment, as the commission may require pursuant to subdivision (15) of section 46a-54, as amended by this act, shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars.

Sec. 8. Subsection (e) of section 46a-101 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(e) [Any] On or after October 1, 2018, any action brought by the complainant in accordance with section 46a-100 shall be brought not later than [ninety days] two years after the date of the receipt of the release from the commission.

Sec. 9. Section 46a-102 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

[Any] On and after October 1, 2018, any action brought in accordance with section 46a-100 shall be brought [within] not later than two years [of the date of filing of the complaint with] after the date of the release from the commission. [, except that an action may be brought within six months of October 1, 1991, with respect to an alleged violation provided a complaint concerning such violation has been pending with the commission for more than one year as of October 1, 1991, unless the complaint has been scheduled for a hearing.]

Sec. 10. Section 46a-104 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

The court may grant a complainant in an action brought in accordance with section 46a-100 such legal and equitable relief which it deems appropriate including, but not limited to, temporary or permanent injunctive relief, punitive damages, attorney's fees and court costs. The amount of attorney's fees allowed shall not be contingent upon the amount of damages requested by or awarded to the complainant.

Sec. 11. Subsection (b) of section 17a-101 of the 2018 supplement to the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(b) The following persons shall be mandated reporters: (1) Any physician or surgeon licensed under the provisions of chapter 370, (2) any resident physician or intern in any hospital in this state, whether or not so licensed, (3) any registered nurse, (4) any licensed practical nurse, (5) any medical examiner, (6) any dentist, (7) any dental hygienist, (8) any psychologist, (9) any school employee, as defined in section 53a-65, (10) any social worker, (11) any person who holds or is issued a coaching permit by the State Board of Education, is a coach of intramural or interscholastic athletics and is eighteen years of age or older, (12) any individual who is employed as a coach or director of youth athletics and is eighteen years of age or older, (13) any individual who is employed as a coach or director of a private youth sports organization, league or team and is eighteen years of age or older, (14) any paid administrator, faculty, staff, athletic director, athletic coach or athletic trainer employed by a public or private institution of higher education who is eighteen years of age or older, excluding student employees, (15) any police officer, (16) any juvenile or adult probation officer, (17) any juvenile or adult parole officer, (18) any member of the clergy, (19) any pharmacist, (20) any physical therapist, (21) any optometrist, (22) any chiropractor, (23) any podiatrist, (24) any mental health professional, (25) any physician assistant, (26) any person who is a licensed or certified emergency medical services provider, (27) any person who is a licensed or certified alcohol and drug counselor, (28) any person who is a licensed marital and family therapist, (29) any person who is a sexual assault counselor or a domestic violence counselor, as defined in section 52-146k, (30) any person who is a licensed professional counselor, (31) any person who is a licensed foster parent, (32) any person paid to care for a child in any public or private facility, child care center, group child care home or family child care home licensed by the state, (33) any employee of the Department of Children and Families, (34) any employee of the Department of Public Health, (35) any employee of the Office of Early Childhood who is responsible for the licensing of child care centers, group child care homes, family child care homes or youth camps, (36) any paid youth camp director or assistant director, (37) the Child Advocate and any employee of the Office of the Child Advocate, [and] (38) any family relations counselor, family relations counselor trainee or family services supervisor employed by the Judicial Department, (39) any person who is a licensed behavior analyst or board certified assistant behavior analyst, and (40) any person who is employed by an entity described in subdivisions (7) to (11), inclusive, of subsection (b) of section 19a-77, who is eighteen years of age or older.

Sec. 12. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2018) (a) As used in this section:

(1) "Administrator" has the same meaning as provided in subsection (a) of section 10-144e of the general statutes;

(2) "Sexual harassment" has the same meaning as provided in subdivision (8) of subsection (b) of section 46a-60 of the general statutes, as amended by this act; and

(3) "School employee" has the same meaning as provided in subdivision (13) of section 53a-65 of the general statutes.

(b) Upon the filing of a complaint of sexual harassment by a school employee against an administrator, the superintendent of schools shall immediately suspend such administrator and conduct an investigation of the allegations contained in such complaint. Such suspension shall be with pay and shall not result in the diminution or termination of benefits to such administrator.

Sec. 13. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2018) (a) As used in this section, "employer" has the same meaning as provided in section 31-58 of the general statutes, and "employee" means any individual employed or permitted to work by an employer.

(b) If an employee employed in a bona fide executive, administrative or professional capacity, as defined in the regulations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, is absent from his or her employment as a result of a disciplinary suspension for violating a written workplace conduct rule prohibiting harassment or workplace violence, the employer may deduct from the wages of such employee an amount equal to the wages that would have been paid for the number of days such employee is absent.

(c) The Labor Commissioner may adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54 of the general statutes, to implement the provisions of this section.

Sec. 14. Subsection (d) of section 54-211 of the 2018 supplement to the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(d) (1) No compensation shall be in an amount in excess of fifteen thousand dollars for personal injury except that: (A) Compensation to or for the benefit of a sexual assault victim or the dependents of a homicide victim shall be in an amount not to exceed twenty-five thousand dollars; (B) the claims of the dependents of a deceased victim, as provided in section 54-208, shall be considered derivative of the claim of such victim and the total compensation paid for all claims arising from the death of such victim shall not exceed a maximum of twenty-five thousand dollars; and (C) in cases of emotional harm only, compensation for medical and mental health care shall be in an amount not to exceed five thousand dollars.

(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (1) of this subsection, the Office of Victim Services or a victim compensation commissioner may award additional compensation in an amount not to exceed five thousand dollars above the maximum amounts set forth in said subdivision to a personal injury victim, who is a minor at the time the application for compensation or restitution services is filed, when such victim has additional medical needs or mental health counseling needs.

(3) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (1) of this subsection, the Office of Victim Services or a victim compensation commissioner may, for good cause shown and upon a finding of compelling equitable circumstances, award compensation in an amount in excess of the maximum amounts set forth in said subdivision.

Sec. 15. Section 54-193 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018, and applicable to any offense committed on or after October 1, 2018, and to any offense committed prior to October 1, 2018, for which the statute of limitations in effect at the time of the commission of the offense had not yet expired as of October 1, 2018):

(a) There shall be no limitation of time within which a person may be prosecuted for (1) a capital felony under the provisions of section 53a-54b in effect prior to April 25, 2012, a class A felony or a violation of section 53a-54d or 53a-169, a class B felony violation of section 53a-70 or 53a-70a, a class D felony violation of section 53a-73a, or a violation of section 53a-70b, 53a-71, 53a-72a or 53a-72b, (2) a violation of section 53a-165aa or 53a-166 in which such person renders criminal assistance to another person who has committed an offense set forth in subdivision (1) of this subsection, (3) a violation of section 53a-156 committed during a proceeding that results in the conviction of another person subsequently determined to be actually innocent of the offense or offenses of which such other person was convicted, or (4) a motor vehicle violation or offense that resulted in the death of another person and involved a violation of subsection (a) of section 14-224.

(b) No person may be prosecuted for any offense, other than an offense set forth in subsection (a) of this section, for which the punishment is or may be imprisonment in excess of one year, except within five years next after the offense has been committed.

(c) [No] (1) Except as provided in subdivision (2) of this subsection, no person may be prosecuted for any offense, other than an offense set forth in subsection (a) or (b) of this section, except within one year next after the offense has been committed.

(2) No person may be prosecuted for a class A misdemeanor violation of section 53a-73a, except within ten years next after the offense has been committed.

(d) If the person against whom an indictment, information or complaint for any of said offenses is brought has fled from and resided out of this state during the period so limited, it may be brought against such person at any time within such period, during which such person resides in this state, after the commission of the offense.

(e) When any suit, indictment, information or complaint for any crime may be brought within any other time than is limited by this section, it shall be brought within such time.

Sec. 16. Section 54-193a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018, and applicable to any offense committed on or after October 1, 2018, and to any offense committed prior to October 1, 2018, for which the statute of limitations in effect at the time of the commission of the offense had not yet expired as of October 1, 2018):

Notwithstanding the provisions of section 54-193, as amended by this act, [no person may be prosecuted for any offense, except a class A felony,] there shall be no limitation of time within which a person may be prosecuted for an offense involving sexual abuse, sexual exploitation or sexual assault of a minor. [except within thirty years from the date the victim attains the age of majority or within five years from the date the victim notifies any police officer or state's attorney acting in such police officer's or state's attorney's official capacity of the commission of the offense, whichever is earlier, provided if the prosecution is for a violation of subdivision (1) of subsection (a) of section 53a-71, the victim notified such police officer or state's attorney not later than five years after the commission of the offense.]

Sec. 17. Section 54-193b of the general statutes is repealed. (Effective October 1, 2018)

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

Section 1

October 1, 2018

46a-54

Sec. 2

October 1, 2018

46a-60(b)(8)

Sec. 3

October 1, 2018

46a-82(f)

Sec. 4

October 1, 2018

46a-86(b)

Sec. 5

October 1, 2018

46a-89(a)

Sec. 6

October 1, 2018

46a-83a

Sec. 7

October 1, 2018

46a-97

Sec. 8

October 1, 2018

46a-101(e)

Sec. 9

October 1, 2018

46a-102

Sec. 10

October 1, 2018

46a-104

Sec. 11

October 1, 2018

17a-101(b)

Sec. 12

July 1, 2018

New section

Sec. 13

October 1, 2018

New section

Sec. 14

October 1, 2018

54-211(d)

Sec. 15

October 1, 2018, and applicable to any offense committed on or after October 1, 2018, and to any offense committed prior to October 1, 2018, for which the statute of limitations in effect at the time of the commission of the offense had not yet expired as of October 1, 2018

54-193

Sec. 16

October 1, 2018, and applicable to any offense committed on or after October 1, 2018, and to any offense committed prior to October 1, 2018, for which the statute of limitations in effect at the time of the commission of the offense had not yet expired as of October 1, 2018

54-193a

Sec. 17

October 1, 2018

Repealer section

Statement of Legislative Commissioners:

In Section 12(b), "benefits to such employee" was changed to "benefits to such administrator" for clarity.

JUD

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

Human Rights & Opportunities, Com.

GF - Cost

125,642

167,522

State Comptroller - Fringe Benefits

GF - Cost

45,646

60,861

Judicial Dept. (Probation); Correction, Dept.

GF - Potential Cost

See Below

See Below

Judicial Dept.

CICF - Cost

Up to 2.7 million

Up to 2.7 million

Note: GF=General Fund; CICF=Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund

Municipal Impact: None

Explanation

The bill makes changes concerning sexual harassment and sexual assault, discrimination complaints filed with the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO), and various other changes.

Section 1 lowers the employee threshold and expands the types of employees who require sexual harassment training. While employers can hire private firms to conduct training, CHRO provides free training. To the extent there is a significant increase in the number of requests for training, CHRO may need to have two additional training staff, a potential cost of $143,269 in FY 19 (partial year) and $191,026 in FY 20 (annualized), including fringe benefits.

Section 2 restricts employers found to engage in a pattern of sexual harassment from raising certain defenses for subsequent sexual harassment complaints. Limiting these defenses is anticipated to increase number of complaints CHRO receives, requiring an additional attorney at a cost of approximately $71,635 in FY 19 (partial year) and $95,513 in FY 20 (annualized), including fringe benefits.

Section 3 extends the time for filing a discriminatory complaint with CHRO from 30-180 days to three years. CHRO dismisses numerous complaints due to lack of timeliness and the extension of the deadline is anticipated to increase the number of cases processed and retained.2 This would require the addition of two Human Rights Investigator Trainees resulting in a cost of $99,652 in FY 19 (partial year) and $132,870 in FY 20 (annualized), including fringe benefits.

Section 14 increases, from $15,000 to $25,000, the maximum compensation available to an eligible sexual assault victim from the Office of Victim Services. There are currently approximately 270 victims each year that receive compensation (most do not receive the full amount of $15,000). If all victims qualified for the new maximum compensation of $25,000, the bill would result in a cost of $2.7 million to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund. It should be noted that the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund, which receives revenue from various court fees and defendant fines, cannot support this cost with the existing revenue structure. Currently, annual revenues to the fund total approximately $3.2 million while expenditures total approximately $2.8 million.

Section 15 eliminates the statute of limitations for certain felony sexual assault crimes and extends the statute of limitations from one year to 10 years for a specified sexual assault crime. To the extent that this change results in more offenders being prosecuted and convicted, this bill results in a potential cost for incarceration or probation supervision in the community. On average, the marginal cost to the state for incarcerating an offender for the year is $1,9003 while the average marginal cost for supervision in the community is less than $7004 each year.

In FY 17, there was over 812 charges for the offenses listed, with 368 receiving a guilty charge or plea bargain. As of January 2018, there are approximately 704 persons incarcerated for the offenses listed and approximately 522 on probation.

Sections 4-13 and Sections 16-17 have no fiscal impact.

The Out Years

The annualized ongoing fiscal impact identified above would continue into the future subject to inflation.

OLR Bill Analysis

sSB 132

AN ACT COMBATTING SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND SEXUAL ASSAULT.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

SUMMARY

1 & 7 — SEXUAL HARASSMENT TRAINING AND INFORMATION REQUIREMENTS FOR EMPLOYERS

1 — CHRO PETITIONS TO COURT

2 — ALLOWABLE DEFENSES IN EMPLOYER SEXUAL HARASSMENT CASES

3 — CHRO COMPLAINT FILING DEADLINE

4 — REMEDIES FOR DISCRIMINATORY EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES

5 — PUNITIVE DAMAGES OR EQUITABLE RELIEF IN EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION CASES

6 & 8-10 — COURT CASE AFTER RELEASE FROM CHRO JURISDICTION

7 — PENALTY FOR FAILURE TO POST CERTAIN NOTICES

11 — MANDATED REPORTERS OF CHILD ABUSE

12 — SCHOOL ADMINISTRATOR SUSPENSIONS

13 — WAGE DEDUCTIONS FOR CERTAIN SUSPENSIONS

14 — VICTIM COMPENSATION

15-17 — ELIMINATING THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT

BACKGROUND

SUMMARY

This bill makes various changes concerning sexual harassment, sexual assault, discrimination complaints filed with the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO), and related matters. For example, it:

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2018, except as otherwise noted below.

1 & 7 — SEXUAL HARASSMENT TRAINING AND INFORMATION REQUIREMENTS FOR EMPLOYERS

Training

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

The bill requires the new training to take place by October 1, 2019, 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 training must take place within six months for employees hired on or after October 1, 2018.

Information

Existing law gives CHRO the power to require that employers with three or more employees post in a prominent and accessible place a notice that sexual harassment is illegal and of the remedies available to victims. The bill requires such employers to also send a copy of this information to employees by email, within three months of their hire, if the (1) employer has provided an email account to the employee or (2) employee has provided the employer with an email address. The email's subject line must include “Sexual Harassment Policy” or something similar.

Under the bill, if an employer has not provided email accounts to employees, it must post the information on its website, if it has one.

The bill subjects employers to a fine of up to $1,000 if they fail to provide the information as required.

1 — CHRO PETITIONS TO COURT

The bill specifies that CHRO has the authority to ensure compliance with the laws over which it has jurisdiction, including the authority to petition the Hartford Superior Court to enforce orders or fines or for other appropriate relief. Existing law authorizes CHRO to petition the court for specified purposes.

2 — ALLOWABLE DEFENSES IN EMPLOYER SEXUAL HARASSMENT CASES

Under the bill, if a judge or CHRO finds that an employer has engaged in a demonstrated pattern of sexual harassment, it is not a defense to a subsequent sexual harassment complaint filed with CHRO that:

The bill allows the respondent (the employer) to introduce these defenses on the issue of damages.

It prohibits an employer, when taking immediate corrective action in response to an employee's claim of sexual harassment, from modifying the employee's conditions of employment unless he or she agrees, in writing, to the modification. This includes actions such as (1) relocating the employee, (2) assigning the employee to a different work schedule, or (3) making other substantive changes to the terms and conditions of employment.

3 — CHRO COMPLAINT FILING DEADLINE

The bill extends the time for filing a discriminatory practice complaint with CHRO, until three years after the date of the alleged discriminatory act. The change applies to such acts that allegedly occurred on or after October 1, 2018.

Under current law, such a complaint must be filed within (1) 180 days of the alleged discrimination or (2) 30 days for complaints alleging discrimination based on denial of state employment or occupational licensure due to criminal history.

4 — REMEDIES FOR DISCRIMINATORY EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES

Under current law, after a finding of a discriminatory employment practice, a CHRO hearing officer may order that the complainant be hired or reinstated, with or without back pay, or that his or her membership in any respondent labor organization be restored. The bill adds promotion as a possible order.

It also requires the officer to (1) determine the amount of damages, including the complainant's actual costs as a result of the discrimination and (2) allow reasonable attorney's fees and costs. The amount of attorney's fees cannot be contingent upon the amount of damages requested by or awarded to the complainant.

5 — PUNITIVE DAMAGES OR EQUITABLE RELIEF IN EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION CASES

Under current law, if the CHRO executive director believes that equitable relief is needed to prevent irreparable harm to the complainant in an employment discrimination case, CHRO may apply to court to seek appropriate injunctive relief.

The bill extends this provision in two ways. First, it allows CHRO to seek this relief in cases involving employers with at least three employees, rather than 50 as under current law. It also allows CHRO, if the executive director deems it appropriate, to apply to court for punitive damages of up to $50,000. Under the bill, CHRO may seek either injunctive relief, punitive damages, or both.

6 & 8-10 — COURT CASE AFTER RELEASE FROM CHRO JURISDICTION

Under current law, a complainant released from CHRO jurisdiction may bring a court case against the respondent within two years after filing the complaint with CHRO, but no later than 90 days after receiving the release of jurisdiction. The bill instead allows such an individual to file a court case within two years after being released from CHRO jurisdiction.

The bill also allows courts to award punitive damages in such cases. In a 2016 case, the state Supreme Court ruled that the current statute does not authorize courts to award punitive damages (Tomick v. United Parcel Service, Inc., 324 Conn. 470 (2016)).

7 — PENALTY FOR FAILURE TO POST CERTAIN NOTICES

By law, CHRO can require employers, employment agencies, or labor organizations, or complaint respondents or other people subject to the public accommodations or housing discrimination laws, to post notices describing any laws as CHRO directs. The bill increases the maximum fine for failure to post such notices as required, from $250 to $1,000.

11 — MANDATED REPORTERS OF CHILD ABUSE

The bill adds licensed behavior analysts and board-certified assistant behavior analysts to the list of mandated reporters of suspected child abuse and neglect.

It also adds to the mandated reporter list anyone age 18 or older who is employed by certain programs that are exempt, by law, from child care center licensing requirements. This applies to programs administered by:

As mandated reporters, they must make such a report when, in the ordinary course of their employment or profession, they have reasonable cause to believe or suspect that a child under age 18 has been abused, neglected, or placed in imminent risk of serious harm (CGS 17a-101a). A mandated reporter who fails to report may be subject to criminal penalties.

12 — SCHOOL ADMINISTRATOR SUSPENSIONS

Under the bill, if a school employee files a sexual harassment complaint against an administrator, the school superintendent must immediately suspend the administrator and conduct an investigation of the allegations. The suspension must be with pay and must not affect the administrator's employee benefits. The bill does not establish procedures for such investigations or a timeframe for their completion.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2018

13 — WAGE DEDUCTIONS FOR CERTAIN SUSPENSIONS

The bill allows employers to deduct the pay of certain executive, administrative, or professional employees for periods during which they were suspended from work for violating written workplace rules that prohibit harassment or workplace violence. It also allows the labor commissioner to adopt regulations implementing this provision. Current regulations limit employers' ability to withhold such employees' pay under these circumstances (Conn Agencies Reg., 31-60-14).

These provisions apply to (1) private sector employers as well as the state and local government employers and (2) individuals employed in a bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity as defined in regulations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

14 — VICTIM COMPENSATION

By law, certain crime victims are eligible for compensation from the Office of Victim Services (OVS). For personal injuries, current law generally limits compensation to a maximum of $15,000, except there is a $25,000 limit for a dependent of a homicide victim. The bill raises the limit for sexual assault victims to $25,000. Under existing law, unchanged by the bill, OVS or a victim compensation commissioner may, under certain circumstances, award additional amounts above these limits.

15-17 — ELIMINATING THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT

The bill eliminates the criminal statute of limitations for all felony sexual assault crimes and all other crimes involving sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, or sexual assault of a minor. It also increases, from one year to 10 years, the statute of limitations for 4th degree sexual assault when the victim is age 16 or older (this is a class A misdemeanor).

Under current law for sexual assault crimes:

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2018, and the bill applies to (1) offenses committed on or after that date and (2) offenses committed before then if the statute of limitations in effect when the offense was committed has not expired as of October 1, 2018.

Eliminating Statute of Limitations

The bill eliminates the statute of limitations for the following crimes:

The bill correspondingly repeals a law providing that there is no statute of limitations for certain sexual assault crimes if the (1) victim reports the crime to the police or a prosecutor within five years of the date it is committed and (2) alleged offender's identity is established through DNA evidence collected at the time of the offense. Under the bill, all of the crimes covered by this law have no statute of limitations.

The bill also eliminates the statute of limitations in any offense involving sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, or sexual assault of a minor. Under current law, except for certain crimes with no limitation period already (i.e., class A felonies or cases with DNA evidence), the statute of limitations is generally up to (1) the victim's 48th birthday or (2) five years from the date the victim notifies the police or a prosecutor of the crime, whichever is earlier.

BACKGROUND

Related Bills

sHB 5043, reported favorably by the Labor and Public Employees and Appropriations committees, expands requirements for employers to provide training and information on sexual harassment laws.

The Judiciary Committee favorably reported three other bills concerning the statute of limitations for sexual assault:

COMMITTEE ACTION

Judiciary Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

25

Nay

16

(04/03/2018)

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.

2 Between FY 15 and FY 16 the CHRO dismissed approximately 93 cases for failure to state a claim due to timeliness.

3 Inmate marginal cost is based on increased consumables (e.g. food, clothing, water, sewage, living supplies, etc.) This does not include a change in staffing costs or utility expenses because these would only be realized if a unit or facility opened.

4 Probation marginal cost is based on services provided by private providers and only includes costs that increase with each additional participant. This does not include a cost for additional supervision by a probation officer unless a new offense is anticipated to result in enough additional offenders to require additional probation officers.