Top 3 Reasons to Start Harassment Training at Work

Entering the modern work force is intimidating and can even be frightening.  Trying to establish a business and hiring employees can be even harder.  After all, when creating your own base of operations, there is so much to juggle.  Things can easily slip through the cracks before we even realize.

One such thing that might escape us are training sessions.  Specifically, educating our workers about compliance, harassment, and prevention.  While they might seem unimportant at first glance, let me assure you that you should definitely prioritize this.  If you’re not convinced yet, I understand!  Here’s the top three reasons you should invest in this sort of training!

  1. Legality

One thing about the United States is that while there are sets of rules and regulations that are nationwide, there are differences as you cross each state line.  For a list of the regulations for all fifty states, you can look here:

In most states, training is noted as “heavily encouraged” but not required.  Of particular interest is California.  Any employer who hires over fifty people must provide at least two hours of sexual harassment training once every two years at the latest for supervisors.  This was updated in 2020, with the amount lowered to five employees and another hour of training required for anyone under a supervisor role.

You may want to look into the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.  They have released blanket guidelines for all businesses within the United States to follow.  Something else to note is that most federal courts rule in the favor of accusers in harassment cases in court if the company being sued does not provide training.

In fact, most of federal courts have actually shown that a business who does not provide training can lose their ability to actually form a good defense against accusations.  If this sounds scary or nerve-wracking, it should.  The risks of a lawsuit don’t stop at monetary, after all.

So, wherever your business operates, it is really important to know the laws.  If you don’t, you could end up with heavy fines, punitive damages, and a bad reputation for your company.  Obviously, no one wants that!  So, that’s why I list legality as one of the most important reasons to pursue harassment training.

  1. Inclusion

In the modern work force, this should be one of your top priorities.  After all, a diverse business is a happy business!  There are many reasons for this.  If you’re wondering about some in depth topics regarding businesses and diversity, you can check out this article – but I have plenty to say as well.

Diversity in a place of work means that the group should be made up of different elements – so, employees who come from varying backgrounds, work experiences, genders, sexual orientations, and races.  Having a homogenous group of employees means that you won’t get any other perspectives or viewpoints.

It is always a good thing to be able to hear other ways of thinking.  After all, this often results in new ways to solve problems or even new ideas for products or styles!  Having an open, tolerant community in your place of business will boost productivity.  

Part of workplace harassment training involves learning what the various types of harassment are. Micro aggressions, hateful language, and intimidation can all fall under something known as “discriminatory harassment”. Obviously, this is a huge problem in a business. Becoming an inclusive office via this training is an overall positive.

  1. A Happier Workforce

This final reason I would like to discuss today ties the previous two together.  In a business, anti-harassment training assists in providing a sense of security and unity.  Many people operate best under a firm set of guidelines.  I know personally, I thrive when someone explains expectations for me!

When you teach rules and educate your employees, there is less of a chance that incidents will arise in the first place.  Many researchers and studies will attest to the fact that education is in fact the best form of prevention.  Also, when expectations are very clearly laid out, it is a lot harder to feign ignorance.

Of course, there are always going to be some situations where harassment was genuinely unintended.  We can not possibly anticipate every single potential during a training session.  However, if we provide an interactive experience and provide plenty of examples, there is a lot lower chance of this happening.

If you’re not convinced yet, that is okay.  I understand that beginning this process might be difficult or intimidating.  Honestly, most employers and business owners already have a lot on their minds.  Delegating these tasks to managers and supervisors is possible.

Whatever method of training you choose to pursue, it’s better to do it sooner rather than later.  Don’t risk an incident occurring!