There are so many items employers have on their to-do lists, like payroll, meetings and answering what seems like a never-ending stream of emails. It can be hard to know how to prioritize it all.
One of the most important items on the list should be anti-harassment training for employees. This training can help employers avoid harassment claims that can cause financial and reputational harm to their organizations.
Harassment is defined by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) as unwelcome conduct based on a person’s race, color, religion, disability, sex, national origin, older age or genetic information. This conduct must create an intimidating, hostile or abusive work environment.
Anti-harassment training should be led by a knowledgeable and engaging trainer, both to keep employees’ attention and to help them retain the information. Supervisors and managers should also stress the importance of taking the training seriously, that harassment will not be tolerated and everyone in the organization is subject to the same expectations.
Although it may be more convenient to purchase a standard training, it is often more effective when it is personalized with examples of behavior that is applicable to the organization receiving the information. These may include obvious signs of harassment and ones that may be more subtle. It’s also important for employers to make it clear that retaliation for reporting suspected harassment is prohibited.
There is guidance available for employers about how to structure this training for their organizations.