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10 Steps for Harassment Prevention Training

Launching a workplace harassment prevention training can be a daunting task, particularly in a multi-state organization. There are many factors to consider from what the training will cover how it will be delivered to all members of the team. However, it has become necessary for all companies to educate employees on ways they can prevent harassment in the workplace. 

Harassment is still a problem in many workplaces. Just in 2018 alone, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received 7,609 sexual-harassment complaints, up 13.6% from 2017. Other forms of workplace harassment reports dropped by nearly 10 percent. This is a sign that creating awareness and education about preventing harassment is vital in all workplaces. 

How can any leader create an effective program for eliminating harassment at work? 

The following ten steps can be used to develop and implement workplace harassment prevention training. 

Step #1 – Evaluate and update your corporate harassment policies. Every organization should have a clearly written policy on how it handles any form of harassment, including any mandatory training that employees must take. Update your policy manual with this information if you have not already done so. 

Step #2 – Review any current harassment training programs and the level of understanding your employees and management team have on this subject. Is there confusion over what employees believe harassment is? Do managers understand various harassment laws for protected classes of employees?

Step #3 – Establish objectives and results for harassment prevention training. If the outcome is to reduce complaints, state this in your objectives. If the purpose is merely to educate leaders on how to spot the signs of harassment, focus on a training program that can deliver this. 

Step #4 – Determine the mandatory content you need to cover in your anti-harassment training and if there are other requirements to teach this to employees. For example, in California, instructors of sexual harassment courses must have at least 2 years of experience dealing with or investigating harrassment claims, or they need special legal or teaching credentials. Requirements for what is covered in training can vary by state and locality. Check with your state’s EEOC office for more information.  

Step #5 – Decide on employee vs. management level training needs. Ask what content will be delivered to supervisors/leaders that employees don’t need? For example, employees will need to know what constitutes actual harassment and how to report it, while leaders will need to know how to spot the signs of harassment and conduct investigations when harassment is alleged. 

Step #6 – Consider how your organization can best cover the required content. This is often determined by the type of company and the preference towards certain training modalities. The options can include instructor-led sessions, employees participating in role-plays and mock scenarios, or a blended approach. 

Step #7 – Establish a layout of how the learning content will be delivered to your workforce. In many cases, harassment eLearning is highly effective and convenient. Employees can take lessons from any mobile device that connects to the Internet, sign in to the learning platform securely, and work through the training at their own pace. For busy employees and managers, this is ideal because they can train around other work commitments. 

Step #8 – Determine how you will ensure compliance with training. Online training has the added benefit of including administrative tools that can track employee participation and completion of course materials. This can also help facilitate the scheduling of new employees into harassment prevention training as soon as their first day on the job. 

Step #9 – Decide how you will measure the success of harassment prevention training. This can include quizzing employees on the material they’ve learned, or it can be evaluated against future reports of harassment (reduction in reports). 

Step #10 – Integrate the anti-harassment training with the HRIS for seamless onboarding and training of new hires and existing employees. This sets employees up for success and they learn about the organization’s zero-tolerance policy for harassment in any format. 

By following the above ten steps, you can help crackdown on incidents of harassment in your workplace and provide a comprehensive education to all. 

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Disclaimer: The information and resources provided herein are not a substitute for experienced legal counsel and does not constitute legal advice or attempt to address the numerous factual issues that inevitably arise in any employment-related dispute. Although this information attempts to cover some major recent developments, it is not all-inclusive, and any recommendations are based upon HR best practices and procedures. We recommend you consult an attorney for legal guidance.

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