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4 Purposes of Anti-Harassment Training

Sexual harassment has become a huge part of the US dialogue over the last month or so due to the reaction to the New York Times article on Harvey Weinstein.  And, though less has been reported on the new EEOC training program about Respectful Workplaces – both of these events are a good reminder to all organizations about the importance of educating employees about inclusion, diversity, and anti-harassment.

There are lots of reasons to host training on diversity, inclusion, and anti-harassment.  The primary one is that if your organization has a diverse, inclusive, and harassment-free environment, it is more likely to be successful.  Here are 4 more reasons to have anti-harassment training:

1. Highlight How to Be More Inclusive

A good anti-harassment training should include the benefits of both having a diverse workforce and also how to foster an inclusive work environment for that workforce. Inclusion is a delicate balance of assimilating employees into your culture while also embracing each employee’s unique perspectives. The difference between diversity is: diversity is what an organization has and inclusion is what an organization does. An anti-harassment training can provide more ideas about what your organization can do to gain the benefits of inclusivity.

2. Prevention

Even if you don’t think your organization has a harassment problem, that doesn’t mean one might pop up in the future. Prevention is the best medicine, and preparing your employees with additional knowledge about all the gray areas inherent in harassment can continue to yield a harassment-free workplace. For example, you never know what kind of training (if any) new employees have had, so it’s best to make sure each new employee gets trained when they hire on with your organization.

3. Learn from Past Mistakes

It’s hard to keep up with everything that could be considered harassment, and mistakes in judgment happen. If your organization ends up with a complaint of harassment, it’s not the end of the world, but rather an opportunity to learn and have a larger conversation about harassment.

4. Create an Affirmative Defense

If a harassment complaint turns into a legal issue, by hosting regular trainings every other year, training new employees, and handling each report of harassment with care and objectivity, your organization is creating an environment in which it shows that it exercised reasonable care to prevent harassment. This kind of affirmative defense can help protect your organization in the event of legal action.

By training all current employees regularly, providing new employees with the same information, and having well-thought out reporting procedures and anti-harassment policies, your organization will set a good foundation for a harassment-free workplace.

Not sure where to start? Purple Ink can help! We help craft clear, concise policies and procedures, and we host 90-minute interactive anti-harassment workshops and have a 1-hour video of the same content that can be shown to each new employee or employees unable to attend a live training. Contact us if you’d like to learn more.

Catherine Schmidt
Catherine Schmidt
Catherine Schmidt, PHR, SHRM-CP, is Purple Ink’s Consulting Manager and has nearly a decade of experience managing various HR functions including recruiting, creating training programs, compliance, and performance development initiatives. She has worked in a variety of industries such as professional services, manufacturing, and non-profit settings. You can follow Catherine on Twitter @CatherineS_HR.

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