The state Senate unanimously adopted legislation early Friday morning that would toughen Connecticut’s sexual assault and harassment laws and broaden an existing mandate for workplace training.
The so-called “Time’s Up” measure, which now heads to the House of Representatives, also would extend the statute of limitations for certain sexual assault crimes.
“Being a victim of sexual assault is not OK and our state is going to have laws that make that is clear to everyone,” said Sen. Mae Flexer, D-Killingly, who spearheaded the legislation.
The bill would require all workplaces with three or more employees to provide sexual harassment instruction to every worker. Currently, employers with 50 or more workers must offer this training, and the edict only applies to supervisors.
The state’s Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities would create a video and other online material to satisfy the new training requirement.
The measure changes the statute of limitations for certain sexual assault crimes against adults, Class B and C felonies, from five years to 20.
It also changes the age of a minor from 18 to 21 when defining whether a person can seek civil damages for emotional damages caused by sexual assault or abuse.
“The crime of sexual assault is an incredibly difficult crime to endure and there are many reasons victims don’t initially recognize what has happened to them,” Flexer said, adding that shame, confusion and long-lasting trauma all cause many victims to remain silent for years.
“Many young victims are just not emotionally prepared to deal with the trauma they have suffered until a significant amount of time has passed,” said Senate President Pro Tem Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven.
The Time’s Up movement was launched by Hollywood celebrities in 2018 in response to reports of sexual abuse allegations against film producer Harvey Weinstein and other prominent men.
The Time’s Up movement’s website features the phrase: “The clock has run out on sexual assault, harassment, and inequality in the workplace. It’s time to do something about it.