Why In-Person Harassment Training May Be Worth the Price of Admission

Lorrie RayLorrie Ray, Director, Membership Development

Have you heard about the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals decision EEOC v. Management Hospitality of Racine, Inc.? The court awarded $105,000 to two teenagers working for an IHOP restaurant. IHOP was likely surprised by this verdict since it had a “zero-tolerance” harassment policy, required employees to watch a sexual harassment video, and told employees to bring any sexual harassment complaints to their district managers. The court; however, found their training inadequate and determined that IHOP did not engage in good faith efforts to educate employees about sexual harassment. We at MSEC found this decision to be predictable in light of Supreme Court cases preceding it.

Make sure you understand what is required to avoid this trap.  Your anti- harassment training should have the necessary elements:

  1. Up-to-date – has current material
    Social media, same-sex marriage, and changing legislation regarding discrimination in different states can make harassment issues much more complicated. Those well versed in employment law cases concerning illegal harassment can provide up-to-date information on this changing topic when they are live and in front of the audience.
  2. Allows for questions – and, more importantly, answers
    Participants’ questions must be answered right away. Employees need help understanding the nuances of behavior that may or may not be appropriate. A video can provide important information, but can also raise many questions that employees did not know to consider before being exposed to the topic.  It is quite common for questions about past behavior at your organization to arise, and a live trainer can make sure that they are answered with the proper perspective to avoid misunderstandings of the law and what harassment is not, as well as what should be reported.
  3. Customized – fits your workplace
    Your organization is unique, with its own issues and concerns.  You may have had a recent incident and realize that training is just what is needed.  Having an instructor at your site who is aware of the challenges or concerns you are wrestling with can be very helpful in putting them in perspective for employees, and for understanding what is behind questions being asked in the training.  The instructor can also be informed about your workplace culture and be able to anticipate and respond to questions and comments in a way that is most helpful.

If you want live anti-harassment training, call MSEC at 800.884.1328.  We have very affordable rates for training employees. We can also train managers separately, so they know how to manage in light of the current legal climate.