State marks passage of ‘Time’s Up Act’

Oct 3 2019

As it appeared in the Norwich Bulletin

HARTFORD – State Senator Mae Flexer stood alongside attorney Josh Goodbaum, and Gianna Aconfora and Maizzy Douchette, two victims of workplace sexual harassment, to highlight the Time’s Up Act that went into effect this week and protects victims.

Aconfora and Douchette were employed as servers at Maggie McFly’s restaurant in Manchester when they allege that they were sexually harassed and assaulted by the restaurant manager. The women claim they were both terminated from their positions after complaining to management about the harassment and have filed a discrimination suit against the company.

“Sexual assault and harassment can never be tolerated,” Flexer said. “Women in the workplace should not have to fear retaliation for being brave enough to come forward and share their stories. Justice for women like Gianna and Maizzy can only occur when our laws are updated to reflect changes in society. In the era of ‘Time’s Up’ and ‘Me Too,’ society’s view on the issue of sexual assault and harassment is finally changing and we cannot have antiquated laws that won’t adequately address claims such as these.

“This year, by passing the ‘Time’s Up’ bill, Connecticut finally took concrete steps to change these outdated laws as well as the status quo about what is considered acceptable behavior. This new legislation sends a message to victims that we believe you and hear you and I’m hopeful that more victims of sexual assault and harassment will feel empowered to come forward and seek justice.”

The case was filed on Oct. 2, 2019, and is now pending in Hartford Superior Court.

In 2018, 84% of the sexual harassment complaints filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) were filed by women, which is consistent with data kept since 1998. Many people who experience workplace harassment – 70% to 80%, according to Flexer’s office.

Under previous law, employers with 50 or more employees are required to provide at least two hours of training on sexual harassment to its supervisory employees within six months of her or his employment. Public Act 19-16 requires employers with three or more employees to provide training, and extends the requirement to all employees.

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