The Who, What, When, Where and Why of Harassment Training

When was the last time your company provided sexual harassment training to ALL employees? Just the mention of the training might create groans and rolling of eyes from your employees, am I right? It’s awkward. Uncomfortable. Laughable in some cases. But necessary? Absolutely. Especially with the onslaught of harassment claims coming out of the woodwork (Miramax anyone?), it’s now more important than ever to train employees on the 5 W’s of Harassment Training.

  1. WHO: All employees. No one should be exempt from the training. Presidents, CEO’s, Upper Level Management, Temps, Part Timers, Seasonal Employees – everyone. Training can be provided by an outsource firm (hint, hint), internal HR or in-house counsel.
  2. WHAT: Annual harassment training that covers BOTH “Sexual Harassment” and “Hostile Work Environment.” It can be two hours, 30 minutes, or full day trainings depending on your organization, size, type of industry, and the intensity of topics covered. Training should ALWAYS be proactive, and be documented. Companies should focus on various types of disabilities, ethnicities, religions, and cultural backgrounds and not just sexual harassment. There are also various states and municipalities that have added protection for sexual orientation and political affiliation to name a few. Make sure that whoever is providing your training is aware of added protected groups, depending on your demographic.
  3. WHEN: At a bare minimum, harassment training should occur annually. Depending on the size of your company and the various regulatory bodies that might decide for you – training can be done multiple times a year. The key thing to remember is to make it interesting, providing resources, and document.
  4. WHERE: Anywhere within the office setting is appropriate. You can divide up the training into groups, departments, or have the whole company attend. Retreats or seminars are also good avenues to discuss harassment in the workplace.
  5. WHY: Aside from providing a workplace environment free from harassment and fear and full of respect, it’s the right thing to do for both the employee and the employer. Employers should be proactive in training and recognizing areas in which harassment is occurring, but also deserve some protection in terms of doing their part in preventing harassment.

Whether you use a video, role play, or have employees read from a script; all types of trainings can be important. Include in your training: your company policy regarding harassment, how to report harassment, and alternatives/outsource for advice. Employees need to know they have alternate avenues to report harassment, and know that retaliation against reporting harassment is illegal. The nice thing about outsourcing your HR needs to Solution Services is that I take care of all of this for your organization. I manage it, schedule it, and document it. Give us a call today to see how we can help you minimize your risk and increase your HR support.