Sexual harassment training is an integral ingredient for the success of any modern workplace. The issue has been brought to the forefront of public attention in recent years and taken more seriously than ever before. Organizations need to reinforce this awareness through proper sexual harassment training programs to ensure compliance with state laws and minimize liability risks.
If you run an organization, this article will put you through the rudiments of the training and answer a few questions you might have.
What is Sexual Harassment Training
Sexual harassment training involves series of teachings that instruct employees on the dos and don’ts of a workplace regarding how to relate with coworkers. In other words, it teaches staff about behaviors termed as sexual violations and harassment. Some examples of these behaviors include but are not limited to
- Sending pornographic videos to colleagues.
- Touching, pinching, or slapping inappropriately.
- Requesting sexual favors.
- Making unwanted sexual remarks.
It’s not just a good idea to provide your employees with sexual harassment training—it’s required by law. For instance, all employers in the US, irrespective of the size of their organization, must have a written sexual harassment policy distributed throughout the company and which includes:
- A prohibition against all forms of sexual harassment.
- A description of the consequences for violating this policy.
- A complaint procedure for employees who wish to make complaints about sexual harassment.
Why Founders and CEOs Should Consider Sexual Harassment Training
As a founder or CEO, you have several priorities, so why should sexual harassment training be one? Here are a few reasons:
Stay Compliant With the Law
Workplace sexual harassment laws in the US have been in place since the early 90s. The law requires employers and employees to adhere to it. So, having regular training sessions can ensure that your organization stays compliant with these laws.
Create a Positive Work Culture
Sexual harassment training is an essential component of organizational culture. It can help you create an inclusive, productive, and respectful workplace. In addition to improving your business reputation, it will also help protect your employees from the consequences of inappropriate behavior, like having to deal with trauma. You can read this article to learn more about the benefits of a positive work culture.
Educate Employees on Their Rights
SH training is necessary to help your employees know how to report unwanted sexual behavior if they experience it themselves or witness someone else harassed. Also, it teaches managers how best to respond when an employee complains about sexual harassment. This way, you can take critical measures to curtail the effect on your organization.
Impact Vertical and Horizontal Relationships
Sexual Harassment Training can impact employer-staff, staff-employer, and staff-staff relationships.
As an employer, having regular SH training shows that you care about your team members’ well-being. As such, it shows workers that the management takes their concerns seriously. This encourages them to approach you if they see something that could qualify as an issue under this policy.
On another plane, it improves how staff relates with other staff members. They will be cautious of their words, actions, and other behaviors that might signal sexual abuse — therefore, building respect among them.
Improve Business Results
Sexual harassment training helps create a safe work environment for everyone involved in your company. The more comfortable employees feel at work, the better their results—sexual harassment training makes this happen!
State Laws Regarding Sexual Harassment Training
While there is no federal law requiring mandatory sexual harassment training, many states do have their laws in place. For instance, some states require employers to provide sexual harassment prevention education, while others require only companies with at least 50 employees to have this training. Be it as it may, the laws are not definite. So we will highlight three states and their take on the issue.
California is one of the top advocates of SH training. The state law passed in 2018 previously required employers with over 50 staff to have the training. You can click on https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/ to read more about California state law regarding this issue.
However, recent modifications to the law require organizations with staff numbers above five to have the training. It also includes time duration (1 hour) and specific topics to handle during the training.
This state does not have any specific laws concerning the issue. However, the EEOC guideline and court decisions mandate employees to hold this training regularly. The training must also cover sexual harassment and other forms of workplace abuse.
New York City
Employers with staff strength of at least 15 must provide annual training for staff, managers, and supervisors. The training is to include those who work at least 80 hours per year.
We’ve seen that sexual harassment trainings are necessary for all employers, whether or not the law demands it. It ensures that all the people in your organization understand how to respect one another and work together effectively. It can also help you avoid costly lawsuits and ensure everyone feels safe at work.
There’s no need to suffer the consequences that are sure to arise from such an unhealthy environment. Hopefully, the information you have gathered from this article will help you make your workspace both safer and more efficient.