Sexual Harassment Training Seminars

In our Sexual Harassment Awareness training seminars your employees will learn and apply the important skills of handling sexual harassment issues and complaints. This hands on workshop thoroughly addresses the elements of how to prevent unacceptable behavior. The class includes a detailed overview of what sexual harassment is, explains legal definitions, discusses sexual harassment prevention, and shows how to handle sexual harassment complaints and maintain a positive work environment.

For more information about individual sexual harassment training courses please complete this form.  Once the form is received one of our consultants will provide you with a confidential proposal that will include a detailed description of the training seminar and the costs for conducting it. 

Sexual Harassment Training: Eight Steps to a Sexual Harassment-Free Workplace

For most working women and men, though, there is no Easy Street when it comes to sexual harassment. There can be embarrassment and lost productivity in organizations without sound harassment policies.

We surveyed 2,200 experienced trainers and human resource practitioners from a cross-section of industries to find sexual harassment training, policies, procedures, and practices for making the workplace sexual-harassment-free. There were 663 respondents.

According to the survey, sexual harassment incidents had declined in 500 of the organizations. They had created effective sexual harassment training and modeled behavior to try to prevent unwelcome situations. Based on survey results, here are eight strategies for combating sexual harassment in the workplace.

1. Enforce zero tolerance. Employers have a duty to prevent workplace sexual harassment. When the employee relations manager told Katherine to ignore Jay's behavior, upper management was, in effect, condoning offensive behavior. That can send the wrong message and cost a company resources and good will. Employers who become aware of sexual harassment are responsible for getting rid of it. In cases in which a manager or supervisor is aware of sexual harassment and fails to investigate or take action including sexual harassment training, the employer may be held liable.

2. Set an example from the top. Rena Weeks sued her former boss, Martin Greenstein, a senior partner of 22 years in a large law firm. Greenstein allegedly touched her inappropriately, made suggestive remarks, and groped her for candy he poured down her blouse pocket. Colleagues tried to cover up those and other incidents reported by female employees. Nevertheless, the firm incurred punitive damages of $7.1 million in 1994 and a $50,000 fine for insufficient sexual harassment prevention practices.
Employees (and customers) tend to focus on sexual conduct by highly paid executives, managers, and supervisors. Consequently, business leaders should practice lawful behavior and receive sexual harassment training. Policies should state that an organization doesn't tolerate offensive touching or sexually oriented materials at work. Also taboo are stares, innuendoes, comments about anatomy, and other behavior that tends to make people uncomfortable.

3. Investigate complaints promptly and thoroughly. Failure to respond to a sexual harassment complaint cost Domino's Pizza dearly. A store manager, David Papa, alleged that his area manager, Beth Carrier, made repeated, unwelcome sexual advances. Papa failed in attempts to discuss the issue with upper management. When he threatened to file a formal complaint, Domino's fired him, only two weeks after he had been selected manager of the month. A Florida judge required Domino's to pay Papa more than $237,000. The judge also ordered the pizza chain to post its sexual harassment policy in each store and hold annual sexual harassment training for managers. Organizations that are successful in eliminating sexual harassment circulate guidelines widely and apply them equally to all employees and provide sexual harassment training. Because a supervisor is often the subject of a complaint, procedures should include provisions for employees to complain to someone other than the alleged harasser. Claims involving management or a pattern of pervasive social-sexual behavior require objective, thorough, and timely investigation.

4. Conduct investigations confidentially. During a sexual harassment investigation, activity on the grapevine usually intensifies. Keeping an investigation within the sphere of the people with an absolute need to know is crucial. In one EEOC case, Astra USA fired CEO Lars Bildman when he reportedly tried to intimidate female complainants.
An investigator may choose to remove any of the accused and accusers from the workplace temporarily. The investigator should tell everyone involved that it doesn't imply a prejudgment but is simply a way to minimize unnecessary interaction during the investigation. Such actions show that an employer takes sexual harassment seriously. They also help ensure greater cooperation by victims, witnesses, and perpetrators.

5. Follow up on complaints. The measure of appropriate remedial action is whether it prevents recurrence. It's also important to eliminate victim retribution. Many HR professionals meet with complainants personally. They document claims, all related meetings, and any disciplinary action.

6. Conduct sexual harassment training to sensitize employees. Have participants take turns playing the roles of supervisor, victim, upper-level manager, and perpetrator of both genders. The practitioners in our study advocate defining what lawful social-sexual behavior is and is not. With sexual  harassment training they suggest using case studies, videos, and role play to promote discussion and understanding. Sexual harassment training can use coaching to help clarify procedures and policies. They can illustrate and encourage appropriate behavior, while preparing employees to confront alleged perpetrators. That helps reduce the liability from unlawful workplace behavior, overcome the negative influence on productivity and morale, and enhance an organization's image.

7. Check people's understanding. Labor attorneys strongly recommend asking trainees written questions to evaluate their grasp of appropriate conduct, policies, investigations, organizational climate, and guideline enforcement. Many organizations require workers found guilty of sexual harassment to attend remedial sexual harassment training classes and sign a statement saying that they understood the information.

You can check employees' comprehension by using pretests, post-tests, performance records, surveys, interviews, observations, focus groups, and managers' perceptions. It's best to conduct workplace surveys six to 12 months after formal sexual harassment training to help assess policy implementation. Follow up to ensure that managers and supervisors know how to identify, handle, and investigate sexual harassment situations properly. Employers who record participation and document sexual harassment training outcomes can provide tangible evidence of good-faith efforts to eliminate sexual harassment. Such records can be especially valuable if litigation arises.

8. Provide periodic refresher sessions. Most of the executives in our study recommended refresher sessions. We suggest one mandatory sexual harassment training session per year for each employee, regardless of job level. Seventy percent of the respondents agreed with the need for formal sexual harassment training and saw related organizational benefits. Interest in such training has been increasing, especially in organizations with more than 100 employees.

Employers have the burden of proving that they're working to eliminate workplace harassment. With strong policy enforcement, effective sexual harassment training, and appropriate behavior models, your organization can come closer to being a safe, sexual-harassment-free workplace.

Source: Herff L. Moore link

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