HR Hotline: Is Harassment Training Required for Out-of-State Workers?
Q: My company’s corporate office is located in Connecticut, but we employ remote workers in many other states in addition to Connecticut.
Does Connecticut’s mandatory sexual harassment training law apply to remote workers as well as employees working in-person? And does it apply to those working remotely in other states?
A: Connecticut’s Time’s Up Act, which took effect Oct. 1, 2019, requires employers with three or more employees to provide two hours of sexual harassment training and education to its Connecticut employees.
The requirement applies to those employees who physically work in the state of Connecticut—whether remotely or in person.
The Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities will not enforce the requirement for remote employees working outside Connecticut.
Employers should be mindful, however, that they may be subject to other states’ training requirements for their out-of-state workers.
Even where no such requirements exist, it’s still a good idea to train all employees.
This is true not just because it makes good business sense, educates the workforce, and lessens the likelihood of harassment occurring on the job, but because training can significantly impact an employer’s ability to mount a defense against a sexual harassment claim or lawsuit.
An employer may avoid liability for sexual harassment committed by a supervisor if the employer can demonstrate that it took reasonable steps to prevent and correct harassing behavior, and that the complainant unreasonably failed to take advantage of preventive or corrective opportunities provided by the employer.
In other words, an employer may avoid liability if it can show that, among other things, it provided training to its supervisors and employees.
A Connecticut employer may not technically have a legal duty to train out-of-state workers, but that same employer could be sued for sexual harassment when one of its supervisors harasses a worker, even if the harassment took place during a virtual meeting.
If the employer has failed to properly train its remote employees—whether legally required in Connecticut or not—it may lose an opportunity to defend itself against the suit.
CHRO offers a free, online sexual harassment training course that satisfies the law’s requirements.
Employees who take this CHRO-sponsored training may transfer the training certificate to a future employer if the employee changes jobs within two years of receiving the training.
Sexual harassment training provided by anyone other than the CHRO is not transferable.
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