In the wake of the #MeToo movement, recognizing and preventing sexual harassment in your organization has never been more critical. If you’re in one of the states that has enacted new rules on sexual harassment training for management and rank and file staff, your mandate is clear. But if your organization is not required by law to train employees it would be wise to get ahead of the curve – legislation may be pending where you do business. And even if it isn’t, public sentiment weighs in favor of the proactive.
Sexual Harassment Training in the Past: Largely Ineffective, Says EEOC
Several years ago, a select EEOC task force concluded that most of sexual harassment training over the previous 30 years hasn’t worked because the focus was on avoiding legal liability instead of prevention and changing attitudes and behaviors. In the #MeToo era, there’s a demand and expectation to replace ‘check the box’ harassment training with a behavior-based approach that is modern, interactive and connects with a 21st century workforce.
Sexual Harassment Training Laws: Coming to a Jurisdiction Near You
California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine and New York and New York City currently have sexual harassment training requirements in place. Employers are required to provide training to employees and, in some cases, additional management-specific training to supervisors. This trend will likely spread as other states, cities and counties take action to protect employees against harassment.
Why Sexual Harassment Training is Mission-Critical
Organizations that place a high value on employee engagement recognize the importance of creating a respectful, inclusive culture, free of all forms of harassment and discrimination. As a result, these organizations can benefit by attracting and retaining top talent, increasing their value in the marketplace and setting the bar high for employee satisfaction. Even without mandates, organizations that take proactive steps to address and prevent harassment and other misconduct can realize higher engagement, lower churn and improved brand reputation.
Of all the new years’ resolutions we make, resolving to prevent sexual harassment is one that should be a priority. As part of a comprehensive strategy, implementing sexual harassment training that is interactive, up to date with evolving laws, and tailored to your workforce and industry sends a clear message that you are serious about harassment and accountability, and creating a culture of respect and inclusion.