A jury in Queens, New York, recently awarded $15 million to a nurse who allegedly was molested by a doctor. Sexual harassment not only poisons the work environment, but it can also cost a company a fortune. Sexual harassment training is more than just a government requirement. It is a necessary part of all employee training. While training requirements vary from state to state and each company handles them differently, let’s take a look at what’s involved with training in general.
California Law AB 1825
California’s sexual harassment law, one of the most sweeping in the country, requires companies with more than 50 employees, including full-time, part-time, and contractors, to provide sexual harassment prevention training to all officers. The law came into effect in 2005.
Training in California must be a minimum of 2 hours and include an interactive approach. Online or web-based courses qualify provided they meet certain criteria. However, live training is much more effective because you really can’t fake interactions. It is best if people attend the training face to face.
Appropriate and Inappropriate Conduct
Most training programs focus on clearly outlining what is appropriate and inappropriate behavior. Many people think they know what it is, but usually, only have a vague idea of what it really covers. Ground rules and barriers must be clearly defined. As employees become more aware of appropriate or inappropriate behavior, they are more likely to recognize it in their own relationships and even when they are victims themselves.
Clear definitions of sexual harassment
Most programs also clearly break down standard harassment behaviors. They not only describe the company’s harassment policy but identify and label each behavior so that it is clearly defined.
In 2009, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigated over 13,500 complaints of sexual harassment, including more than 15% from men. As women become more present in the workplace, particularly in senior management positions, more and more charges are being filed by men. The face of sexual harassment is changing, but the need for education has never been greater. A company can easily spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in litigation to defend a harassment case by sexual harassment lawyers. Don’t let it happen to yours.