Connecticut employers now have until Jan. 1, 2021 to comply with the state's expanded sexual harassment prevention training mandate that lawmakers approved last year.

The state Commission on Human Rights and Opportunity extended the original Oct. 1, 2020 deadline due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is a blanket extension and does not require a request to be made,” the CHRO said in a notice on its website announcing the change.

Previously, the agency gave employers until Sept. 9 to request a 90-day extension of the Oct. 1 deadline to comply with the new training requirement—providing the reason for the request was related to the virus.

But the new directive says no reason is needed.

State lawmakers expanded sexual harassment prevention training requirements last year by mandating that employers with three or more employees take on new obligations to provide the training to all their workers.

Before the new law was enacted, Connecticut businesses with 50 or more employees were required to provide supervisors with two hours of the training.

Connecticut’s employers were looking at the possibility of millions of dollars in training costs, but CHRO followed CBIA’s suggestion to provide an online training video that meets the law’s requirements.

The course is available for free on the CHRO website.

CBIA's Mark Soycher says for new hires after July 1, 2020, the law’s existing deadline requiring training to be completed within six months of the hiring will still presumably apply when the six-month time period lands after Jan. 1, 2021.

For more information, contact CBIA’s Mark Soycher (860.244.1900) | @HRHotline

Filed Under: Coronavirus, Labor & Employment
  • Sctsmith

    For purposes of this mandate, is a business owner considered an employee? If an employer has four owners (LLC Members) and one employee — for purposes of this mandate, does that employer have five employees (and subject to the mandate), or one employee?

    • CBIANews

      With regard to the harassment prevention training mandate, while not explicitly answered, it appears that a company owner would not be counted as an “employee” when assessing whether the business has three or more employees, thereby triggering the training requirements for all workers, management and non-supervisory/hourly.

      But, this would be a distinction without a difference. Besides mandating training for all workers at companies with 3 or more employees, the 2019 law commonly referred to as the Time’s Up Act, Public Act 19-16, also requires that employers with less than three employees provide harassment prevention training to all supervisory employees. The deadlines for compliance is similar to that for larger companies, by October 1, 2020, or within six months of hire or promotion to a supervisory position, with the limited exception that any supervisor who has completed harassment prevention training since October 1, 2018 need not take the training again. The CHRO’s recent extension of the October 1, 2020 deadline until January 1, 2021 provides some breathing space for companies to come into compliance. An old CHRO regulation from the prior training mandate that only applied to supervisory employees at companies with 50 or more employees, no longer in effect, contained a definition of “supervisor” that is instructive, leaving little doubt that an owner would be considered a supervisor under the new law: “Supervisory Employee” means any individual who has the authority, by using her or his independent judgment, in the interest of the employer, to hire, transfer, suspend, lay off, recall, promote, discharge, assign, reward or discipline other employees, or responsibility to direct them, or to adjust their grievances or effectively to recommend such actions.

      And although it appears that the company with fewer than three employees may not have to have their two employees complete harassment prevention training, my recommendation would be to find two hours for those employees to review the same materials, possibly at a “lunch and learn” session, or two one-hour lunches, so that all are on the same page as far as harassment prevention and understanding the collective responsibility needed to ensure a safe, respectful workplace for all. Put those four hours of paid time in the “ounce of prevention” investment account, money well-spent!

      • Sctsmith

        Thanks for the detailed response.