Whether your business is large or small, sexual harassment is an issue that can have incredibly dangerous and seriously negative repercussions if you’re not prepared.
Some states have already introduced mandatory sexual harassment training for all places of business.
Even if you’re not currently required by law to participate in this type of training for your employees, doing so can offer a myriad of benefits not just for your company, but also for your colleagues. Read on to learn more about how this training can benefit your business and create a happier, healthier workplace for all.
1. Protection from Legal Liability
While there’s no guarantee that having a solid sexual harassment training policy in place can protect you from lawsuits, it certainly helps. There are several landmark Supreme Court decisions that have distinguished the difference between sexual harassment committed by an individual and those that were “accepted” due to the business’ negligence.
When you create a clear and thorough sexual harassment training policy, you’re proving that your company is serious about this widespread issue. It also shows that as a business, you’re fully aware of the implications and are doing everything you can to prevent it.
A business is considered negligent when it learns about an incident of sexual harassment and doesn’t take the steps necessary to protect the victim. In order to avoid liability, your business needs to investigate the complaint, and then take proactive steps to prevent it from occurring in the future.
An example of some proactive steps would include terminating the employee, or at minimum, disciplining them in a profound way. With the right training, supervisors and other employees cannot claim that they weren’t aware that their behavior was considered unacceptable or against company policy.
It’s your duty to make it very clear to workers that sexual harassment in the workplace will not be tolerated. With concrete training and bold policies in place, you’re protecting your company and your assets from legal repercussions.
2. Sexual Harassment Training Improves Morale
While the topic of sexual harassment is never pleasant, it’s crucial to address the issue head-on. Another benefit of practicing sexual harassment prevention training is that your workers will feel more confident and committed to their jobs.
Employees who value their work and feel valued by you will be much more productive. A boosted morale will spread to others, which in turn will make the entire company culture a lot more pleasant and positive.
When someone is concerned about sexual harassment at their job, absenteeism levels increase. Many employees will use sick time to try and stay away from work as they process the situation and try to recover. Not only does this affect your business, but it also affects your ability to provide adequate benefits to employees when they really need them.
Aside from better morale and less downtime, sexual harassment training can also prevent high turnover rates. Businesses dealing with sexual harassment complaints have a much higher rate of employees who quit or leave and simply never return. This can increase your costs to process new hires and re-train new employees.
3. Protection for Your Employees
When you provide adequate training and a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment, employees become empowered. This sense of empowerment makes people feel comfortable if they see something inappropriate at work.
If a worker observes unsavory behavior, they’re much more prone to intervene or report it when their employer has a strict training policy already in place. Make sure you’re providing your employees the support they need to feel confident whenever they see something that needs to be addressed.
Bystander intervention training is an excellent supplement to sexual harassment prevention training. This training teaches employees how to intervene or stop sexual harassment whenever it starts.
In a toxic work environment, issues like discrimination and sexual harassment tend to go unreported. However, in a place of business that participates in sexual harassment prevention training, the reporting rates are much higher.
Without the right support, it can lead to a toxic work environment where employees feel uncomfortable and wary of coming in every day. When you educate and encourage your employees to stand up against sexual harassment, they’ll feel like they have the backup they need to be strong and fight against improper behavior. This boost of morale will also be evident in the way they relate to your customers, too.
Currently, just six U.S. states require some form of mandatory sexual harassment training. These states include:
While each state has its own guidelines, they all mandate that employers implement some form of sexual harassment preventing training.
Even if your state doesn’t require this type of training by law, it’s still an extremely important step to ensure success. In the future, more states will likely pass new laws mandating this training, so it’s a good idea to get ahead of the curve.
Prevent Sexual Harassment Through Training
With the right tools and a quality sexual harassment training program, you can enjoy a happier, more successful business for all. Your employees will be empowered, and you’ll know that you are doing everything within your power to create a workplace that fosters a sense of care and support.
There are online sexual harassment training plans available that can make implementing this policy streamlined and easy.
If your business needs help or guidance in developing a training program, visit our website, or contact us today to learn more.