Q: What's up with the Time's Up Act? We hear Oct. 1 is the deadline for action.
Until now, employers with three or more employees have been required to post in a prominent and accessible place a notice stating that sexual harassment is illegal and the remedies available to victims.
The Time's Up Act expands an employer's notice and training obligations to include additional forms of communications to employees about workplace sexual harassment, and to provide harassment prevention training beyond the supervisors covered under existing law.
As of Oct. 1, 2019:
- Employers will be required to provide to new employees, within three months of hire, an email containing information regarding the illegality of sexual harassment. The most likely/suitable content would be the company policy or a copy of the state Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities poster.
- If an employee has no work-assigned email and has not provided the company with a personal email for communications, the company may post the information on the company's website and advise the employee of this.
- Or in the alternative, the employer may provide the employee via email, text, or in writing, a link to the CHRO website containing information about the illegality of sexual harassment and the remedies available to victims.
- Employers must provide all existing employees with two hours of training by Oct. 1, 2020.
- Employers must provide two hours of training and education to new employees hired on or after Oct. 1, 2019 within six months of their start date.
- Employers with fewer than three employees must provide two hours of training and education to all existing supervisory employees by Oct. 1, 2020 or within six months to new supervisory employees.
- Employers must provide periodic supplemental training not less than every 10 years.
Virtually all employers will be covered by the broader training mandate, not just those with 50 or more employees, as has been the case up to now.
But in most instances, there's either a six-month, post-hire training deadline for new hires, or a 12-month time frame for current employees. So there's no need to panic.
And probably the easiest and more emphatic strategy to ensure compliance with the notice requirements, and convey management's commitment to eliminate workplace harassment, would be to send all employees—not just new hires—a copy of the company's policy.
That's an effective way to engage employees in constructive, positive conversations on this important risk management and workplace culture effort.