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State Senator

Ed Gomes

Representing Bridgeport & Stratford

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Gomes Votes for Time’s Up Act

Senator Ed Gomes (D-Bridgeport) today voted in support of the Time’s Up Act, a legislative package introduced by Senate Democrats that includes the largest overhaul in modern history of Connecticut’s sexual harassment and sexual assault laws. The bill passed in the Judiciary Committee and now moves to the Senate for consideration.

The Senate Democrats’ Time’s Up Act, Senate Bill 132, reforms Connecticut’s sexual harassment and sexual assault laws and processes to create stronger protections for victims and to increase penalties for offenders by:

  • reforming the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) complaint process
  • strengthening and expanding Connecticut’s mandated reporter laws
  • eliminating statutes of limitation for all felony and Class A misdemeanor sexual assault crimes
  • increasing financial penalties for offenders
  • providing for injunctive relief and punitive damages
  • setting a universal process for investigations of harassment complaints against school administrators, and
  • requiring increased training and education in Connecticut workplaces.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) receives workplace complaints of sexual harassment, and notes that women file more than 80 percent of such complaints. Studies show that around 70 percent to 80 percent of people who experience workplace harassment do not report it. Perhaps this is for good reason, because those who do report general mistreatment at work experience retaliation 75 percent of the time.

During calendar year 2017, the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) processed 4,600 total complaints and received 2,490 new complaints. Of those new complaints, more than two-thirds, over 1,800, were about employment discrimination. 158 were about sexual harassment. The sexual harassment complaints are trending significantly upwards on a year over year basis, with the last three months of 2017 seeing a 37 percent increase in filed complaints over the last quarter of 2016.

The bill ensures employees are better informed of their rights. Under current law, only employers with 50 or more employees must provide training on sexual harassment, and even then only to supervisors. Under the bill, CHRO is authorized to require all employers with three or more employees to provide training to all employees, not only supervisors. The bill will prohibit an employer from taking corrective action that modifies the accuser’s employment conditions, without her or his written consent.

SB 132 would add licensed and board certified behavior analysts to the list of professionals required to report child abuse, and this provision is consistent with SB 244, which received bipartisan support from members of the Human Services Committee. Senate Bill 132 also bill removes an exemption from the mandated reporter laws for certain day care facilities.

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