Prevention is better than cure especially when it comes to sexual harassment in the workplace. Don’t wait for cases to be reported— nip it in the bud as early as possible.
One of the things you can do for the prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace is to hold proper and regular sexual harassment training. It ensures a safe and productive work environment for everyone in your organization.
Here are four compelling reasons why sexual harassment training is essential to your workplace.
Compliance with and knowledge of the law
Many states across the United States require sexual harassment training. It’s a crash course to let everyone in the company know about laws for sexual harassment in the workplace, what to do in case it happens, and the penalties that come with breaking the law.
Laws vary from state-to-state. In California, regular sexual harassment training in the workplace is mandated by the Fair Employment and Housing Act. Businesses with more than five employees should conduct sexual harassment training every two years. Newcomers must also receive sexual harassment training within six months of starting their job.
The Fair Employment and Housing Act doesn’t stop at sexual harassment trainings. Companies should also regularly distribute information sheets about sexual harassment in the workplace, plus create and implement policies to prevent it from ever occurring.
A safeguard against sexual harassment liabilities
Sexual harassment in the workplace comes in two forms: quid pro quo and hostile work environment. It can be tricky to tell which is which if you’re new to the topic. This is where sexual harassment trainings come handy.
With correct instruction and information, employees in the upper and lower levels will be able to distinguish between the two. Furthermore, they will know the liabilities for each case depending on the type of sexual harassment.
In a quid pro quo situation, for instance, the employer is completely liable whether they have full knowledge of it. Meanwhile, the employer is only liable if they were informed about a hostile work environment type of sexual harassment but didn’t do anything about it.
Both cases are more common than you think, so it’s essential to train employees to recognize these issues and undertake the necessary steps to report it.
Company liabilities depend on the perpetrator and magnitude of the sexual harassment case. They may be required to pay fines and damages, such as back pay, front pay, damages for emotional expenses, and other monetary compensations for the mentally and psychologically harm inflicted on the victim.
Fostering a safe environment to work in
Firm sexual harassment training and policies can make current employees and even potential talent recognize your company’s efforts to keep the workplace safe. It makes your organization an attractive place to work in. Last but not the least, trainings reinforce company values and lead to a happier workforce.
In light of the #MeToo movement, more and more people recognize the importance of zero-tolerance sexual harassment policies in the workplace. Aside from knowing perpetrators will be held liable, people also want to know that they will be protected, heard, and cared for in case they fall victim to sexual harassment or assault.
Without sexual harassment trainings and policies, you risk creating an unsafe work environment. This can harm your company’s performance and reputation in the long run. When sexual discrimination is apparent in an organization, it loses important talent and credibility.
A safe space is a productive space
A safe workplace runs better than ones where employees are constantly on edge due to the fear of sexual harassment. People perform better in places where they’re not treated as cogs in the machine, but as valued and respected individuals.
Vague sexual harassment policies (or lack thereof) create an unsafe and hostile work environment. Not only does it hinder people from working at their best, it also prevents your company from reaching its long-term goals. If you want to make sure your organization reaches its full potential, take care of your employees’ well-being and prevent all kinds of workplace discrimination from taking place.
Create the ideal work environment for your team
Hogue & Belong can help you take the necessary steps to create a work environment that is free and protected from all kinds of sexual harassment.
Browse our blog for more tips on preventing sexual harassment in the workplace or consult with our team top sexual harassment lawyers to craft zero-tolerance sexual harassment policies in accordance with California law.