Federal and state laws require employers to make appropriate efforts to properly train employees, take remedial corrective actions and prevent any form of harassment and discrimination. It’s critical to discuss the importance, why and how to deliver timely and effective anti-harassment and discrimination compliance training programs.
Why Train Employees
There are many valid reasons why employers need to properly train employees.
- First, the government and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) require this training. State and federal courts view employment training as an employer’s duty to comply with the employment laws that prohibit harassment and discrimination.
- Second, training is the best way to educate employees about workplace policies, legal rules and complaint procedures.
- Third, robust and periodic training minimizes liability by providing an affirmative defense to any alleged claims.
- Fourth, training favorably impacts employee behavior and creates better workplace environments.
Why Train Management
Employers must train managers and supervisors how to model respectful behavior, monitor employees and recognize inappropriate behaviors. They must immediately respond to any harassing or discriminatory conduct and respond to complaints of improper conduct. The Supreme Court has ruled that employers have greater opportunity and responsibility to prevent misconduct through supervisors than workers (Faragher v. City of Boca Raton). Training should specify and illustrate the types of conduct that violate policy, the importance of the anti-harassment policy and the responsibilities of responding to complaints and stopping retaliation.
Harassment and discrimination are any unwelcome verbal or physical conduct that is based on protected classes, such as age, race, gender, ethnicity, disability and sexual orientation. The conduct must be offensive enough to alter the victim’s employment condition. Harassment requires tangible employment action and creates a hostile work environment. This is defined through frequency and severity. More severe conduct requires less frequently. Less severe conduct requires more frequent occurrences. The conduct must be objectionably viewed as inappropriate from the perspective of a reasonable person.
Anti-harassment and discrimination compliance training solutions will have a positive impact on the workplace. Employers can effectively meet their legal obligations by training employees and creating safe work environments. Download our ebook A Learning Guide to Recognizing Harassment in the Workplace