Harassment Training for [your company name here]
Before I do a workshop on Workplace Harassment, I like to check the news for any recent stories, and over the years I’ve never been disappointed. The past few weeks have seen a surge in harassment claims that have made the news, and as a result I’ve had a ton of emails asking if they need to have their people enroll.
If any benefit can come from the horrible testimonies that have come to light, it’s that companies are starting to realize that training on harassment awareness is something they should do and promote; it’s no longer about “checking the box” to get Legal off their back, or because it’s required in their state. It is an essential part of ensuring a culture where everyone can thrive.
So if it’s something your company is serious about, where to start? Do you outsource it, and if so, to whom? How long should it last? Is it required by law? Here’s some information culled from the questions we get asked the most:
- Outsource the first time doing this kind of training to firms that do it regularly. They have more stories to share, and are likely more knowledgeable on how to be fully compliant in your state. Once you’ve sat in on one, you could take it in-house in the future if you feel comfortable doing so.
- Some companies use training provided by their legal counsel or via training provided by their HR provider, because it's free. While these are both very viable options, consider talking to a training firm as well. After all, some of the most knowledgeable people make lousy teachers.
- Is it required by law? Currently, not unless you’re in California, Connecticut or Maine, although virtually every state will tell you it is “strongly encouraged”. Read that as mandatory if you want to minimize your liability.
- Workplace Harassment training is usually around 1 ½ to 2 hours (CA requires the training to be a minimum of 2 hours). For managers or supervisors, I recommend an additional 20 minutes or so.
- While California requires a live component, in most cases self-paced online training on harassment is legally sufficient. While I don’t agree with many things California enacts, this one I think they got right: live training is simply more interactive and allows for the “what ifs” that really answer participant’s concerns. That said, if you do it right, self-paced online training can be a good alternative. Shop around.
So should your company implement Workplace Harassment training? I’m admittedly biased and work for a training company, but people are starting to realize they cannot afford not to.