Today, 71% of organizations provide sexual harassment prevention training. But no one really knows how prevalent sexual harassment is in the workplace. Why? Because according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), only one quarter of victims report sexual harassment to superiors or file claims or file lawsuits.
In a previous blog we discussed why victims do not come forward, with the fear of repercussion being the dominant reason. Could online sexual harassment training be the solution? Yes and no. Online training does provide significant pros, but there are also valid cons to what many consider a “hands-off” approach.
Evolution of Sexual Harassment Training
The EEOC released its’ first guideline for sexual harassment training in 1980. Throughout the years, the training evolved from what the victim should do (e.g. how to properly document and report the behavior) to how the organization can protect itself (e.g. minimum requirements that “training” has been provided to the workforce). Considering the recent high-profile allegations of sexual abuse and harassment and the resulting mainstream movements (#metoo) the need for real, effective sexual harassment training is a must. These recent events have fueled the need to address this issue more seriously, going beyond the required training to enlightened training.
Can online training tackle this important subject matter?
Undeniably, online training provides a way to get subject matter to the masses.
Overall, online sexual harassment training provides:
- Convenience, access to training 24/7/365
- Private viewing of uncomfortable subject matter
- Proof that subject matter was received with post presentation quizzes/testing
- A non-threatening opportunity for employees to report incidents/provide feedback
Informing employees of the dos and don’ts is important, but it often does not tackle the issue of sexual harassment thoroughly. Some argue that there are more cons to online sexual harassment training, and that deems it a waste of time.
Some argue that online training is not interactive enough for such an important subject because it lacks the ability to:
- Convey the seriousness of the issue
- Provide interaction between peers
- Apply scenarios to the unique characteristics of the organization
- Facilitate in-depth conversation
- Uncover current situations that need to be addressed
No matter where your organization stands on online sexual harassment training, any training is obviously valuable. However, to address this issue appropriately, it’s important that sexual harassment must be prevented and never tolerated in the workplace. The only solution is to establish and nurture a zero tolerance policy.
Zero Tolerance Environment
It is the duty of all organizations to educate their staff on what is and is not deemed sexual harassment in the workplace. Thus, training is a must. But it is merely step one. To date, there is little evidence that sexual harassment training prevents this type of behavior. Creating a company culture where it is not tolerated is the real solution.
To achieve this, the work environment must align in thought and action by embracing respect for one another, with no exceptions. Respect in the workplace is everyone’s responsibility. So is the prevention of sexual harassment. It takes a comprehensive buy-in from all to establish a zero tolerance work environment where everyone can feel safe.
Need Help Establishing a Zero Tolerance Sexual Harassment Workplace?
SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Inc. can help your organization establish Sexual Harassment/Discrimination policies and procedure and train your staff on the Prevention of Sexual Harassment /Discrimination. Don’t wait until your employees feel like victims and your work culture becomes toxic. Contact or call 330-255-1101 today and speak with one of our HR specialists for more information.