The Repercussions of Ignoring Sexual Harassment Training Mandates

The recent claim of sexual harassment against the Mayor of San Diego, has many of us wondering “how did this happen?”

San Diego has a sexual harassment training program which is mandatory for all employees to complete within six months of employment. Yet, the mayor’s office appears to have cancelled the training numerous times. Is this a case where training programs just “fell through the cracks”?  Why was Mayor  Filner allowed to abstain from this vital training?

Training and compliance educations are forms of protection, especially important trainings such as sexual harassment awareness and prevention. Businesses tend to focus on ensuring managers and employees complete this type of training; however, a company’s most visible and prominent figures (read that to mean the most vulnerable) are not usually required to complete this important training exercise. Why are company Presidents and CEOs allowed a free pass?

The people at the top (usually high level employees of the executive level) often claim to be too busy to attend this type of valuable training. Let’s face it—No one wants to get too pushy with the boss.  Sadly what is also the case is that HR Departments avoid demonstrating their antiquated, instructor-led training to the boss. They really want don’t want the boss sitting and observing them in action.  Isn’t this a form of failing the boss, the company, and the employees HR is responsible for?

According to the attorney representing Mayor Filner, the mayor might never have been sued for sexual harassment had he been properly trained. Of course, none of us know for sure what would or would not have happened had he been properly trained. What we do know is the city of San Diego would have limited liability in the recent lawsuit if they could prove that the training requirement had been met.

When a complaint is filed with the EEOC, one of the first questions asked is what training took place and when.  The ability to prove that an organization took proactive steps to minimize discrimination through training is essential to reducing or avoiding liability. If you are asked about your organization’s harassment training records, do you feel confident that your liability risk is mitigated?

Contact Syntrio today to learn more about sexual harassment training and how it can help you and your business avoid unnecessary complications and liability.

6 Things to Look for in Harassment Training

In addition to covering all required content related to harassment, discrimination and retaliation, look for the following when evaluating online harassment compliant training:

  1. Designed by Experts
    Online anti-harassment training should be designed by experts in BOTH harassment prevention and web-based instructional design. A collaboration between a recognized employment law firm and an established e-learning provider is ideal.

  2. Record Keeping
    Your training solution should allow for easy tracking and reporting of completed training and retraining requirements. Ability to create reports based upon various departments, job levels and locations is ideal. Capability to print completion certificates is also best.

  3. Scenario Rich
    Training should be highly interactive with numerous hypothetical scenarios illustrating complex and nuanced situations in which issues with harassment can arise.  Video vignettes also work well to keep employees fully engaged.

  4. Mobile Compatible
    To keep up with employees who are on the go and working hard to stay ahead of the competition, training must be multi-platform compatible. Thus, available when ever and where ever is needed.

  5. Ask Questions
    To be most effective, online training should provide a link or directions on how to contact a live trainer to answer questions. A built-in e-mail or instant messaging feature is ideal.

  6. Customization
    Training should automatically accommodate your organization’s policy including procedures for reporting and handing harassment complaints. It should also have a mechanism that requires managers/supervisors to actively acknowledge that they have received, read and understand the company policy.
Syntrio, Inc