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Why Sexual Harassment Prevention Training is Necessary
Managers/Supervisors/Owners and your rank and file employees need to be told different things during their sexual harassment training, so it’s important to keep their trainings separate.
Employees need to know the basics on respectful and professional behavior and where to turn if they are the victims of sexual harassment. Managerial training should focus on how to end disrespectful conduct, how to avoid liability, how to handle complaints, the investigation process and anti-retaliation rules.
It is true that training may not prevent all sexual harassment but taking steps to timely correct sexual harassment, can be an effective way to avoid liability if there is a lawsuit. Sometimes, employees accused of harassment are unaware that what they were doing was offensive.
Your rank-and-file employees might need as little as a 1-hour live training per year on sexual harassment and other equal employment opportunity (EEO) topics. Everybody needs training on the company’s sexual harassment policy and complaint procedure that if anyone thinks the policy has been violated, that person should report it.
The training’s goal will be to help people realize what is respectful and professional behavior. Topics also covered include all the legally protected categories, not just sexual harassment but race harassment and discrimination based on sex, religion, disability, age and more.
In some states, such as Maine, Connecticut and California, private employers are required by law to provide managerial training on sexual harassment. Many public employers have similar mandates. This “best practice” should be used by employers in all states even if their state does not have such a requirement.
Managers need to understand that anyone can be a harasser or the victim of harassment. Managers need to understand how to create a culture that doesn't tolerate harassment and how to intervene to put an end to disrespectful and illegal behavior.
They also should also receive training on their role in receiving complaints, how the company will respond to a complaint, the investigation process, and necessary follow-up with the complaining party. There also needs to be a clear understand that they can't retaliate against someone who complains of harassment and should be aware of how harassment creates liability for a company.
After a harassment incident, the harasser may be required to participate in one-on-one training, if he or she isn't fired. Such trainings are becoming more common to resolve claims with enforcement agencies. At times, these agencies do not just want monetary relief for the victims.