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Connecticut Poised to Pass Big Changes Related to Anti-Discrimination Laws

On June 4, 2019, Connecticut’s General Assembly passed several bills containing essential information for employers.
The proposed bills change the rules pertaining to training on state and federal sexual harassment laws and remedies. For example, training formerly was required for employers of at least 50 individuals. The new law will require employers of all sizes to train supervisors by October 1, 2020. Employers with more than three employees will also be required to provide some training to their non-supervisory employees. Failure to comply with the training requirements could be considered a “discriminatory practice” and employees may be able to bring an action arising out of it.
Additionally, employees (of employers with more than three employees) must receive an email within three months of their hire with the subject: “Sexual Harassment Policy.” In this email should be a copy of the required postings regarding sexual harassment. Furthermore, when an employer takes prompt remedial action in response to a complaint of harassment, an employer may only modify the complaining employee’s condition of employment upon agreement in writing by the employee.  Employees will now have 300 days (up from 180 days) to file state discrimination claims and the state agency will have greater discretion in awarding damages at hearings. Punitive damages in court will now be expressly permitted. The foregoing is an overview of the changes expected to go into effect once the governor signs the bills. Local counsel should be consulted regarding the full parameters of the new laws.