Sexual Harassment Training

The landscape of sexual harassment in the workplace has undergone a seismic shift in recent months, leaving many employers wondering what they can do to protect workers from harassment and prepare to address any claims that may arise.  In the world before #metoo, this question might have been answered with recommendations to re-issue the company’s harassment policy and provide “the usual” periodic compliance training to workers. 

While it is important to develop and implement a harassment policy (and periodically update and reissue that policy), this step alone is not enough where research, including a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), shows that almost one-quarter of non-management employees admit that they do not know whether their employer has a policy prohibiting sexual harassment.  A second study by CareerBuilder reports that a majority of workplace sexual harassment victims do not report harassment.  Those who remain silent about misconduct do so because they worry about being labeled as a troublemaker, or being pitted against someone else in a credibility contest, or losing their job after making a complaint. 

In light of these findings, what can employers do to make a difference on this issue?  Where it is clear that “business as usual” may not be enough, companies must instead chart a different course forward to eradicate workplace harassment.  This new path should focus not only on communicating and enforcing rules against prohibited conduct, but also on educating employees and modeling expectations regarding respectful workplace behaviors.

To that end, Hawaii Employers Council is pleased to announce an updated supervisory harassment training program that addresses the reality of sexual harassment in 2018.  The program, entitled “Preventing Workplace Harassment:  An Updated Approach,” expands beyond a compliance discussion to include a more in-depth consideration of best practices for creating a respectful work culture.  It provides concrete tools for managers to use in response to inappropriate conduct and to set expectations for positive employee behaviors.  The session, which runs 2.5 hours, will be available as part of HEC’s Supervisory Series.  Members can also schedule a trainer to come onsite and present the supervisory training program to their management teams, or an updated employee harassment training session to all workers.   For more information about the program or to schedule an onsite manager training, members should speak with their assigned HR Consultant. 

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