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State Senator

Mae Flexer

Representing Brooklyn, Canterbury, Killingly, Mansfield, Putnam, Scotland, Thompson & Windham

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Sen. Flexer Praises Bill To Prevent Sexual Harasser Employees From Being Passed Along To Other Workplaces

HARTFORD – State Senator Mae Flexer joined in the Senate passage of a bill that prevents employers from giving a job recommendation to an employee without also telling that potential new employer that the employee also had a history of sexual harassment or discrimination at their previous job.

The bill also prevents companies from mandating that an employee sign an overly broad “non-disclosure agreement” that could potentially prevent that employee from raising concerns about sexual harassment or other forms of discrimination in the workplace.

The bill passed the Senate on a bipartisan 33-2 vote and now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration; the regular session of the 2019 General Assembly ends next week, on Wednesday, June 5.

“Harassment and sexual assault should not be tolerated in our workplaces,” said Senator Flexer. “By passing this bill, we are creating safer work environments for workers across Connecticut. Employers must be honest and transparent about any prior acts of sexual harassment or assault committed by a current or former employer. Additionally, a victim of harassment and sexual assault should never be silenced through the use of non-disclosure agreements. This is a great step towards changing the culture around workplace harassment and showing victims that we hear and believe them.”

Senate Bill 761, “Honest Recommendations and Prohibition on Certain Nondisclosure Agreements” as amended with a strike-all amendment LCO 9542, requires that an employer who is giving a recommendation to an employee seeking work elsewhere must disclose to the potential new employer known acts of sexual assault in the workplace perpetrated by that employee, or complaints of sexual harassment filed with the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) against that employee.

The bill sets a one-year time limit on disclosure from the time the employer is made aware of the act. Also, employers do not have to communicate such information if a complaint filed with CHRO was unsubstantiated or dropped, or if the alleged offender is found not guilty.

The bill also prohibits employers from requiring employees -- as a condition of their employment -- to sign so-called non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) that prohibit discussing or disclosing acts of discrimination or harassment in the workplace. Typical NDA language regarding trade secrets, client lists, etc. is not covered by this bill.

At its public hearing in March, The Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence testified that 81% of women and 43% of men experience some form of sexual harassment during their lifetime, and the majority of them do not report it.

“This legislation builds a path to a more equitable and safe workplace by ensuring that sexual harassers and predators are not protected by employers when they are leaving one job for employment elsewhere,” said Lucy Nolan, Alliance director of policy and public relations.

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