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Is Anti-Harassment Training Effective in the Workplace?

January 26th, 2018
anti-harassment training meeting room photo

Anti-harassment training is getting quite a bit of press lately (for obvious reasons), but such training isn’t backed up with a heck of a lot of data confirming its efficacy. While anti-harassment training seems like an obvious answer for today’s troubling harassment trend, a recent Mother Jones article finds that such training too often focus on corporate compliance rather than on the ethical disconnect that such harassment forwards. Because the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) received more than 162,000 charges of discrimination (harassment charges are charges of discrimination) between 2010 and 2015, this is an important issue to explore further.

Anti-Harassment Training

While anti-harassment training could potentially better educate your employees and help foster a healthier work environment, there are some inherent issues with such training as it currently stands:

  • Too Little – Too Late

Often, anti-harassment training isn’t implemented until after there’s a harassment issue in the office. Waiting until a problem is already stalking your halls before you provide training isn’t ideal. Nobody wants to believe that harassment is an issue in their business, but simply closing your eyes and hoping it won’t rear its ugly head isn’t your best option. Ensure that your employees understand what harassment in the workplace is and how it hurts the entire office.

  • Business as Usual

Workplace harassment is an uncomfortable topic, and for this reason, much anti-harassment training is fairly staid (and easier to mock than to find meaningful). Many anti-harassment training programs are very similar and follow a prescribed script that gets very old very quickly. Engage your employees in a meaningful conversation about why harassment is a form of discrimination and the inherent ethical lapse involved.

  • Legalese Clouds the Issue

Anti-harassment training often focuses on the legalities of the issue, which are important but aren’t the heart of the matter. The crux of discrimination in the form of harassment at work is that it is morally and ethically repugnant and should never be tolerated – by employers or by employees. A canned training speech that’s peppered with legalese can never effectively convey this important message.

  • Lack of Relevant Focus

Most anti-harassment training – as discussed – focuses on the wrong issues. The EEOC, instead, focuses on harassment related to disabilities, religion, and sex (rather than solely on sexual harassment, which is often what training sessions highlight). It’s important that employers and employees alike understand just what constitutes harassment (in all its many forms), how it’s hard on the entire office, and exactly why it’s fundamentally wrong.

If Your Business Is Looking at a Harassment Charge, Call 732 238-8686 for More Information Today

Harassment charges are serious, but the experienced employment law team at Bowne Barry & Barry, Attorneys at Law is here to help. Our skilled employment lawyers have the experience, knowledge, and commitment to help protect your rights and your business. For effective legal counsel, please contact or call the law office of Bowne Barry & Barry at 732 238-8686 today.