Lawmakers propose changes to sexual harassment laws - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Lawmakers propose changes to sexual harassment laws

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(WFSB file) (WFSB file)

Sexual harassment has become an explosive issue these days, and Connecticut lawmakers want to overhaul state laws.

They're proposing more training and making it easier for victims to come forward.

Connecticut laws on sexual harassment have not been updated for years, and with all the attention lately, some lawmakers want to fix that.

"We've seen sexual harassment exposed to cross all types of industries and settings, and heard heart breaking stories of so many victims,” said Democratic State Senator, and Senate President Martin Looney.

When it comes to sexual harassment and sexual assault, Senate Democrats say too many employees don't know their rights.

They're calling their proposals “The Time's Up Act” and one problem is inadequate training. Current law only requires training for companies with 50 or more employees.

They want it required for three or more employees, and for all employees not just supervisors.

They also feel the complaint process is too restrictive. Current law requires complaints to be made within 180 days of an incident and that would be extended to two years.

Republicans however are angry and said this was supposed to be a bi-partisan effort to combat sexual harassment, but Senate Democrats intentionally left them out.

"If there was any question from anyone is this state, as to the fact Democrats are scared in this election year and want to use partisan politics to scare people and mislead people, there should be confusion after today,” said Republican State Rep. and Minority Leader Themis Klarides.

There hasn't been a sexual harassment complaint made at the state capitol since 2003. It was against two lawmakers who are no longer in office.  

They were given verbal warnings, but some feel in today's world, the consequences may have been more serious.

"Legislators can't be fired, they can only be fired by the voters and that happens every two years. That makes things complicated. And we need to make sure as fellow legislators we need to make sure that someone who acts that way is treated accordingly,” said Democratic State Senator Mae Flexer.

Republicans say this is one issue where they agree with Democrats, and they will support legislation to combat sexual harassment and assault.

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