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Democrats cheer as sexual harassment reform bill pushes forward

April 4, 2018 GMT

HARTFORD — A bill that would overhaul Connecticut’s sexual harassment laws and enforce some of the most stringent training requirements in the nation was approved by the legislature’s Judiciary Committee late Tuesday night.

The Time’s Up Act was flagged as top priority for Democrats this legislative session. They celebrated its advancement Tuesday night.

“Senate Democrats have made it our mission to declare ‘Time’s Up’ on sexual harassment and sexual assault,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney, D-New Haven, who sponsored the bill. “We have seen sexual harassment exposed across all types of industries and all levels of government, and have learned the heartbreaking stories of so many victims.”

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Connecticut’s sexual harassment laws have not been updated since the early 1990s, according to the Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund.

The new bill would require companies with three or more staff to provide sexual harassment training and education to all their employees. The law now says employers with 50 or more staff have to provide training just to their supervisors.

Connecticut is one of three states that currently requires sexual harassment training of private sector companies, according to the National Women’s Law Center. In California, companies with 50 or more staff must do the training and in Maine, companies with 15 or more.

The Connecticut Business Industry Association has argued the new requirements will be expensive and burdensome for local companies.

emunson@greenwichtime.com; Twitter: @emiliemunson