Please note: This article is not legal advice, nor does it contain every detail or requirement of the applicable laws: it is provided solely for informational purposes and is not intended to be relied upon. If you have questions about these laws, please consult your legal counsel.

In recent years, workplaces across the United States have put an increased emphasis on fostering safe and respectful environments for employees. One can’t-miss aspect of this effort is addressing and preventing sexual harassment.

Connecticut, like many states, has implemented specific regulations regarding sexual harassment training to ensure that employees are armed with the knowledge and tools to recognize (and respond to) sexual harassment.

Below, we’ll explore the sexual harassment training requirements in Connecticut, detailing who needs to undergo training, what the training entails, and how employers can ensure compliance while fostering a culture of respect and equality in the workplace.

What constitutes sexual harassment in Connecticut?

Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Under Connecticut law, sexual harassment is defined any unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors or any conduct of a sexual nature when: 

  1. Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment.
  2. Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for employment decisions affecting such individual.
  3. 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. 

Understanding Connecticut’s legal framework

In 2019, the Connecticut General Assembly passed, and the Governor signed Public Acts 19-16 and 19-93 — which together constitute the Time’s Up Act.

Among other changes to the CHRO process, this legislation established new rules and requirements related to sexual harassment training. These provisions and requirements went into effect October 1, 2019.

Let’s dive into the specifics below.

Who needs to receive sexual harassment training?

Connecticut employers with three or more employees must provide two hours of training and education to those employees hired on or after October 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 October 1, 2020 or within six months to new supervisory employees.

What are the content requirements?

The content of the training must include all federal and state regulations prohibiting sexual harassment in the workplace. The training should also define sexual harassment.

Make sure it’s interactive!

The language of the statute requires the training to be interactive. This means that the training must be in a format that allows participants to ask questions and receive answers — for example, the training could include a live Q&A session at the end, or it could provide a way for participants to submit questions and get answers after the training within a reasonable time period.

The state allows for multiple styles of training to be used, such as classroom, webinar, and e-learning. To make training more effective, examples should be tailored to situations that occur based on the industry and workplace.

How long does the training have to be?

The training must be two hours. However, nothing prohibits an employer from providing more than two hours of training and education if they choose.

How often do employers need to provide sexual harassment training?

Employees must be trained every 10 years, although it’s recommended that a refresher course be provided every three years.

Are employers required to keep training records?

While not required by law, employers are encouraged by the Commission in Connecticut to maintain records of all training. This could include the curriculum used to teach learners, names and addresses of whoever conducted the training, or even the names and titles of everyone who was trained, as well as dates.

The Commission also encourages that these records be maintained for a minimum of one year, or until a discriminatory practice complaint involving anyone trained is filed and resolved.

Tips for staying compliant in Connecticut

While Connecticut’s sexual harassment training requirements may be more lenient compared to other states, we all know that compliance can (and often does) present challenges for employers. Some common hurdles include ensuring that training content is engaging and relevant, scheduling sessions to accommodate employee schedules, and tracking training completion for all team members.

To help you navigate these challenges effectively, here are some tried-and-true tips:

  1. Interactive training methods: Incorporate interactive elements like as quizzes, case studies, and group discussions to enhance engagement and facilitate knowledge retention.
  2. Tailored training: Customize training content to address the specific needs and concerns of different employee groups — such as frontline workers, remote employees, and managers.
  3. Regular refreshers: Supplement decennial training requirements with periodic refresher courses or updates to make sure that employees stay informed about evolving legal standards and best practices.
  4. Leadership commitment: Demonstrate leadership commitment to a harassment-free workplace by actively participating in training sessions, reinforcing organizational policies, and fostering open communication channels for reporting harassment concerns.

The final word

Compliance with Connecticut’s sexual harassment training requirements is essential for employers to create safe, inclusive, and legally compliant workplaces. By understanding the legal framework, launching effective training programs, and prioritizing a culture of respect and accountability, businesses can reduce risks, nurture employee well-being, and ultimately enhance organizational success.

Remember, compliance isn’t just about meeting legal obligations — it’s about creating a workplace where everyone feels valued, respected, and empowered to succeed.

Build a better workplace with Ethena

At Ethena, we’re committed to making sexual harassment training so good it sticks. In fact, ineffective harassment prevention training was the catalyst for why we were founded

Today, our modern and engaging approach to learning goes beyond check-the-box regulation requirements. With nearly 1 million ratings and a 93% positivity score, Ethena’s Harassment Prevention training course inspires learners to foster healthy, inclusive, and squeaky clean workplaces.