The Best Sexual Harassment Seminar: A Guide For Employers
In the age of #MeToo, there is truly no place for sexually inappropriate behavior at the modern workplace. And yet, sexual harassment remains the prevailing type of workplace discrimination, causing employees discomfort, humiliation and, in some cases, lasting trauma.
Wronged employees have a legal right to formally complain, first to HR, then to state or federal authorities in charge of employment rights violations -- and can even sue the employer for damages.
Clearly, it is in both, the company's and the workers' interest to not let sexual harassment happen in the first place! This is where sexual harassment seminar comes in.
This article discusses sexual harassment prevention -- specifically:
Why sexual harassment training is important and necessary for every business.
The employer's legal responsibilities for keeping the workplace free of sexual harassment as well as taking immediate action when violations do occur.
The components of a productive/successful sexual harassment seminar.
**Note: ** if you are looking for the best sexual harassment seminar training modules on the market (to get your employees compliant hassle-free), try EasyLlama. Our bite-sized videos and software make it a breeze to get your employees certified and compliant under State laws. Try our sexual harassment training modules today.
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Identifying Sexual Harassment In The Workplace
Sexual harassment is a type of unlawful workplace harassment, which is a general term encompassing unwelcome conduct at the place of work that is based on race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy, national origin, advanced age (40+), disability, and genetic data (including family medical history). If unsure whether you're a victim of sexual harassment, you can take the sexual arassment quiz.
Harassment is defined as unlawful under at least one of the following conditions:
- Enduring problematic conduct becomes an unavoidable condition of continued employment at the company.
- The inappropriate conduct at the place of work is severe or pervasive enough to create an offensive work environment that any objective, a reasonable person would find intimidating, abusive, or hostile.
Download the guide outlining all the state and local laws around sexual harassment prevention training requirements.
Ultimate Guide To State And Local Harassment Prevention Training Requirements
Download the guide outlining all the state and local laws around sexual harassment prevention training requirements.
Expressions Of Workplace Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment occurs at work in a variety of manifestations, including unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, inappropriate jokes/commentary/acts, and other verbal and/or physical conduct of sexual nature or targeting an employee on the basis of their sex. When such a behavior is so relentless that it explicitly or implicitly affects a worker's employment and performance, the line into creating a hostile work environment/unlawful harassment has been crossed.
Hostile Environment Vs. Quid Pro Quo
A "hostile environment" is created by sexual harassment among coworkers who are equals, and typically involves offensive, insulting, and otherwise inappropriate verbal or physical conduct.
"Quid Pro Quo" is a situation where an employee of a lower status is being cajoled or pressured by their superior into trading sexual favors for job-related favoritism, like promotions, advances, bonuses, etc. Which is to say, it is sexual inappropriateness with the added problem of abuse of power.
Why Are Workplace Sexual Harassment Training Programs Important?
Nobody deserves to have their boundaries violated -- anywhere -- but least of all places of work, where uneven power dynamics can make the situation even more complicated and oppressive. Top-to-bottom employee training is an essential element in preventing instances of sexual harassment from poisoning the work environment and possibly costing the business good employees, productivity, profits, and government and legal fees.
The first line of defense against sexual harassment is its prevention; the first line of preventing sexual harassment is education and training.
Why Are Workplace Sexual Harassment Training Seminars Necessary?
Aside from the moral and civic value of sexual harassment education, it is important to remember that sexual harassment in the workplace is unequivocally against the law -- and it is the employer's legal responsibility to:
- Take formal and meaningful preventative measures to keep workplace harassment from happening
- Respond appropriately to instances of sexual harassment by handling complaints swiftly, safely, and fairly
The employer is also legally prohibited from retaliating against an employee who chooses to file an internal or external complaint: on the contrary, the employer must do all they can to remedy the situation on their end.
Indeed, while sexual harassment training is not legally required, past workplace sexual harassment court case decisions have shown that employers who fail to furnish preemptive workplace training to their workforce (employees, managers, supervisors, contract workers, and volunteers) tend to end up paying far more in damages to the victims if -- or, rather, when -- sexual harassment happens at their place of business.
Federal Laws Against Sexual Harassment
Unlawful sexual harassment at the workplace is part of a larger harassment/discrimination rubric that violates:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 -- applies to companies with 15+ employees
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) -- applies to companies with 20+ employees
- Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) -- applies to companies with 15+ employees.
Federal employment discrimination/harassment laws are enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which allows employees 180 days from the incident of harassment to file an official complaint with their office.
State/Local Laws Against Sexual Harassment
Most US states do not have additional anti-sexual harassment laws (yet!), but the few that do may mandate extra requirements for sexual harassment training per state (New York does this on both, state and city levels).
The following are some of the pieces of anti-workplace harassment state legislature on the books so far:
- California: AB 1825 ("Sexual harassment: training and education"), AB 2053 ("Employment discrimination or harassment: education and training: abusive conduct"), SB 396 ("Employment: gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation"), SB 1300 ("Unlawful employment practices: discrimination and harassment"), SB 1343 ("Employers: sexual harassment training: requirements")
- Connecticut: Connecticut Human Rights and Opportunity Act, Time's Up Act
- Delaware: HB 360, Delaware in Discrimination Employment Act
- Illinois: SB 0075, Illinois Human Rights Act, Work Transparency Act
- Maine: Maine Employment Laws Revised Statute, Title 26, Section 807
- New York: New York Human Rights Law §296.1, New York City Stop Sexual Harassment Act
- Washington Washington Senate Bill 5258 ("Sexual Harassment Law")
In some of the above six states, sexual harassment liability covers companies with fewer employees than the typical 15+ federal minimum. For example, New York State law holds any enterprise that employs one or more person accountable for sexual harassment training compliance.
Some states obligate larger companies to provide additional mandatory discrimination and harassment training to all managers. For example, in Delaware, all businesses with 50+ employees must train all their supervisory employees within six months of obtaining their position. While in Washington, any hotel, motel, retail, or security guard entity, or property services contractor as well as managers, supervisors, and employees need to be trained and companies are required to comply no later than January 1, 2020. More info on the workplace sexual harassment requirements in Washington here.
Depending on the state, there may be a longer statute of limitations than the federal one for employees to report harassment to the state organizations in charge of handling complaints of employee rights violations. For example, in California, under the latest Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) adjustment ruling, the victim has up to three years to file an official complaint of workplace harassment.
What Makes For An Effective Sexual Harassment Training Seminar?
A robust sexual harassment training seminar discusses sexual harassment prevention as a top priority, and in doing so:
- Provides a detailed overview of what sexual harassment is; explains legal definitions of all the involved terms and concepts
- Teaches employees to tell the difference between sexual harassment and discrimination, to distinguish boundaries between work (formal) and social (informal) environments, and to practice mutual respect and empathy.
- Uses real-life scenario examples to illustrate how sexual harassment manifests in everyday work settings.
- Trains supervisors how to handle sexual harassment complaints from their employees with utmost fairness, delicacy, and promptness -- and in compliance with federal and state legal requirements.
Providing sexual harassment training for employees does not legally protect the employer from responsibility for subsequent instances of sexual harassment but, in practice, it has been shown to reduce inappropriate behaviors at work in the first place. Plus, victims are less likely to take the employer to court when they know that the company has taken all the necessary measures to keep sexual harassment at bay and is committed to keeping them safe.
Don't Just Get Any Sexual Harassment Training: Go For The Golden Standard!
While there are any number of sexual harassment training programs out there (some free!), when it comes to preventing sexual harassment at work, you want the best (i.e. most effective and durable) training for your employees and business.
EasyLlama Gets Employees On Board With Sexual Harassment Prevention
Chances are, your employees are none too thrilled about having to go through more compliance training. They've been through HR-mandated training before and anticipate something equally long and tedious. Some may not see the point of sexual harassment training at all and are bracing themselves for a miserable waste of time.
Well, get really to watch your employees be pleasantly surprised by how easy and even fun the EasyLlama training is to complete!
As one of the leading sexual harassment training companies in the HR compliance e-learning space, EasyLlama has had the chance to refine its training program design and software to fit the needs of most companies to a tee.
General Workforce Training Seminar
Regular employees benefit from EasyLlama's "harassment & discrimination" training thanks to its modern, snappy, engaging content -- delivered through super-user-friendly interface and optimized for a workforce that connects to the internet predominantly through mobile phones and tablets.
The training program modules are delivered in bite-sized, interactive formats, prompting employees to get "sucked into"/emotionally committed to the short scenarios playing out on the screen and, therefore, having them walk away with a better understanding of the materials and ideas presented in the seminar.
Management Training On Sexual Harassment Issues
Because "quid pro quo"-style sexual harassment still exists, EasyLlama's additional management training will ensure that supervisors at your business are:
- crystal-clear on legal definitions of what constitutes sexual harassment in all its forms
- have the skills and knowledge to handle sexual harassment complaints effectively, safely, and in a timely manner
- eager (and have the skills) to foster a safe and positive work environment by respecting sex-related (and other) boundaries and autonomy of each employee.
EasyLlama's sexual harassment training seminar (among others) is fully compliant with EEOC's legal requirements and has versions developed specifically in compliance with state laws of each US state with its own additional sexual harassment policies and training requirements.
Make EasyLlama's easy, affordable, multi-lingual, customizable anti-work harassment and discrimination training program take care of your compliance training needs -- and rest easy knowing that you've done right by your company and employees.