As some of you already know, it is not only immorally wrong to commit a hate crime against houses of worship, religious community centers and other organizations that have a religious affiliation, but is also illegal to do so. Given the rise of such hate crimes throughout the State of Connecticut, a new bill was introduced and passed to strengthen, expand and punish those who commit such heinous crimes. As an employer, you might not think that this type of bill would have any effect upon how you operate your business, but it does in more ways than one.
Effective October 1, 2017, public act 17-111 will become effective to now broaden hate crimes to include bias against the gender of a person (making any employee complaint regarding gender or sexual orientation all that much more important to act upon) , establish a State-Wide Hate Crimes Advisory Council, establish text and telephone hotlines to provide assistance for persons inquiring about or reporting hate crimes and providing employees protections if they need time from work to care for a child whose school or day care center is evacuated or closed due to a threat of violence.
While it is not legally required that every employer post or notify their employees that it is illegal to commit a hate crime, but right along side that sexual harassment policy and zero tolerance for violence policy, should be a no-hate crime policy. You will also want to make sure that you do not discipline or take any adverse employment action against any employee who is required to leave work to pick up their child or care for their child when a school or daycare facility has been closed due to a threat of violence, as I am certain this will result in litigation and expenses.
It may be a good idea to broaden your sexual harassment training to include a training section on what constitutes a hate crime and that your company does not tolerate such behavior. If you are interested in incorporating this type of training into your next scheduled sexual harassment training, give NotzHR a call, we can customize your employee training to provide you with the most up-to-date and educational training to help reduce employee misconduct.