There are many different regulations across industries about whether sexual harassment training is mandatory or optional. Each company will have its own policies, but we believe that it is time for companies to come together and make sexual harassment training mandatory for all managers.
Sexual harassment training is not only about catching someone performing a lewd act with a customer or employee without their consent. Those are the worst-case situations. And while they can arise in a work environment, they are not the norm.
Sexual harassment in the workplace can be something as simple as an employee cornering another in a secluded part of the office or shop, with the implied request of sexual favors. It is such intimidating behavior that is very common, and is often unreported.
Training for Everyone
There are two reasons to ensure everyone is trained for sexual harassment cases. Firstly, it ensures that managers know the warning signs and how to act if a complaint is made. And secondly, it sets boundaries. Maybe the training can take the form of a video, where different situations are showcased. The video would indicate the type of interaction that is acceptable, and what is not allowed. This would empower those who may be victims, and it would let everyone at the company know what types of behavior are unacceptable.
Short and Sweet
As with any type of training, there is no need for sexual harassment training to go on for ages. No one likes being lectured for hours, especially about sexual conduct. Short videos and brief comments by someone from the company will suffice. New hires should be getting this training before they start the job, and regular employees should be given a refresher course every six to twelve months, depending on whether any polices have changed or issues are discovered at the company.
Training should cover all types of sexual harassment and discrimination that fall under federal and state laws. It is also a good idea to cover details such as abuse of power or possibly lewd behavior. If there are types of behavior that a company wishes to discourage, but they are not part of the federal law, they can also be included in the training.
Where sexual harassment is concerned, it is better if companies are safe rather than sorry. Taking the matter seriously, and creating a safe environment for all employees should be the priority.