Incidents of sexual harassment occur in workplaces both big and small everywhere. Each day brings reports of notable figures in media, entertainment, government, and business being accused of workplace sexual harassment. What steps can companies take to avoid the pitfalls of poor sexual harassment training? Help protect your businesses with an employment practices liability insurance program (which includes coverage for sexual misconduct) and these essential elements of effective sexual harassment training.
Clearly Defined Policy
Businesses must implement clear policies that outline what sexual harassment is in the workplace and what the consequences are for failing to follow policies. These policies should be distributed to each new employee and reviewed regularly in training sessions. Regularly evaluate and adjust is important.
Companies need to reinforce and demonstrate that they value a sexual harassment and retaliatory behavior-free workplace. This communication must begin at the top, meaning that HR officers and senior management must actively pursue any allegations and act swiftly.
Know the Law
HR officials, managers, and supervisors must be clear on not just company policy, but also any relevant state laws about harassment and training. If corporate policy or state law mandates additional actions to training, those have to be followed.
Provide Realistic Examples
Training should offer examples that employees can relate to and that reflect realistic situations, power dynamics, and interactions that are likely to occur within their jobs and companies. Examples should demonstrate the comparison of acceptable and unacceptable behaviors, and how employees can use company-provided resources to share complaints, seek advice, and get help.
Expand the Reach
Sexual harassment training should be offered to as many (ideally all) employees as possible. Providing all employees with information sends a powerful message across the board regarding the importance of such information. Making it mandatory is a good move, too.
Make it Interactive
How can employees engage with the training in ways that are most effective to them? This may be by large group training facilitated by a trainer, interactive computer-based training modules, webinars, or question-and-answer sessions.
Employees need safe spaces available to ask questions without fear of reprisal or judgment. Statutes of limitations must be defined and explained. The ability to raise and confront old allegations needs to be stated clearly. Power dynamics are a huge aspect of sexual harassment and why so many victims have not come forward in the past. Those power dynamics should be considered when scheduling training programs.
Businesses must provide sexual harassment training programs that provide interactive tools that engage employees and deliver information effectively. Engaging sexual harassment training should include group exercises, case studies, thoughtful reflection, and before-and-after assessments that assess cognition and growth.
About World Wide Specialty Programs
For the last 50 years, World Wide Specialty Programs has dedicated itself to providing the optimal products and solutions for the staffing industry. As the only insurance firm to be an ASA commercial liability partner, we are committed to that partnership and committed to using our knowledge of the industry to provide staffing firms with the best possible coverage. For more information about Staffing Professional Liability Insurance or any other coverage, we have available to protect your staffing business, give us a call at (800) 245-9653 to speak with one of our representatives.