Sexual Harassment Awareness Training
Education is the key to ensuring that managers and employees alike understand the problem and see that their organization’s management is trying to control harassing behavior. Additionally, it is clear that awareness training is essential in providing tangible evidence that an employer has made a reasonable effort to prevent sexual harassment and it does so in a variety of ways:
- Awareness training will provide employees and supervisors alike, clear descriptions of the types of behaviors that are appropriate and inappropriate. In the absence of this type of training, most people have only a vague idea of the types of behaviors that constitute sexual harassment.
- Awareness training can ensure the effective communication of the sexual harassment policy to all employees and emphasize the employer’s position on preventing sexual harassment.
- Awareness training can provide employees with a clear understanding of the established complaint procedure and what they can expect from the company should they file a complaint.
- Awareness training can also educate members of management in the appropriate steps to take when confronted with a sexual harassment complaint.
Training in these areas can go a long way toward preventing or eliminating sexual harassment in the workplace. Research in this area suggests that many of the more minor forms of sexually harassing behavior can be prevented or eliminated simply by making employees aware that these behaviors constitute sexual harassment.
Should sexually harassing behavior occur in spite of the training, it is still more likely that management will react appropriately which, in turn, should reduce the likelihood of litigation. In the worst case, a well developed, implemented and documented sexual harassment training program will contribute significantly to an employer’s affirmative defense in litigation.
This training should be provided to all employees at least once a year and can generally be done in one two hour session or multiple sessions for larger number of employees.