Connecticut’s “Time’s Up” Act: What Businesses Need to Know
This post was authored by Kaitlyn B. Rowe, J.D., AIC, Senior Claims Litigation Specialist at Rose and Kiernan, Inc.
On June 18, 2019, a new law was signed in Connecticut titled “An Act Combatting Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment,” which has been referred to as the “Time’s Up” Act (the Act). The law was passed in part as a response to the #MeToo movement and went into effect on October 1, 2019. Connecticut’s “Time’s Up” Act has implications to business of all sizes and may be a sign of future changes as well.
Changes in size of impacted businesses
The size of businesses required to provide sexual harassment training has changed under the Act. Under the new law, employers with three or more employees are required to provide two hours of sexual harassment training to all employees by October 1, 2020, unless such training was provided within the past two years. New employees hired on or after October 1, 2019, must receive training within six months of being hired. For those employers with fewer than three employees, the training must be provided to supervisory employees only. Previously, the training requirements only applied to employers with 50 or more employees and the training was only provided to supervisory positions. Additionally, the law requires the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights (CHRO) to develop an online training module on sexual harassment. Lastly, the training requirements now apply to family-owned or operated companies.
Changes in the CHRO Statute of Limitations
The Act also has changes affecting employees who pursue charges against employers under the CHRO. Currently, employees have 180 days to file a claim of discrimination or harassment against their employer, but the new law expands that deadline to 300 days. This expansion is not limited to only sexual harassment. The law also allows employees who are successful on their discrimination claims to recover punitive damages, in addition to reasonable attorney fees.
Changes in the Civil and Criminal Sexual Assault Statute of Limitations
The law also changes the statute of limitations for sexual assault. Research has shown that victims of sexual assault often do not disclose the abuse until the age of 50, which has led to many states across the country significantly increasing or eliminating the statute of limitations for these claims. Under the new law, victims who are sexually assaulted before the age of 21 have until the age of 51 to file a civil lawsuit. On the criminal side, the statute of limitations is removed for victims of sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, or sexual assault of a minor and increased the statute of limitations for victims at ages 18-20 to until the victims turn 51 years old. Additionally, the statute of limitations for those who are age 21 and over is increased to 20 years for felonies and 10 years for misdemeanors.
The law also requires the establishment of a task force to review the statutes of limitations for civil cases.
A portion of the proposed bill that was not included in the final version was a “look-back provision,” which was a 27-month window during which victims could sue regardless of their age. This could be revisited by the task force again in the future.
Employers throughout Connecticut should review their current policies regarding sexual harassment training to prepare for the changes. Additionally, employers should be aware that there may be additional changes in the future regarding the statute of limitations for claims involving sexual assault and adjust their insurance policy retention practices accordingly.
For more information on Connecticut’s “Time’s Up” Act and risk management services with Rose & Kiernan, please contact us here or by calling 800-242-2433.