Missouri House of Representatives Receives Sexual Harassment Training

In January 2016 all members of the Missouri House of Representatives attended a live training session aimed at reducing the number of sexual harassment scandals appearing on the evening news. Indeed, the mandatory training was scheduled in response to the recent resignations of the former Missouri Speaker of the House and a State senator, both of whom resigned amid allegations of inappropriate behavior with college-aged interns in recent years.

In response to the scandals, the state legislative body approved a plan to have all members and their staff attend two training sessions. In addition to the training sessions, lawmakers will now have a new complaint system whereby employees working with the House of Representatives will easier be able to lodge complaints of sexual harassment which will be heard by an independent ombudsman.

As part of the training overhaul, the online training system in place for incoming senators will be expanded, and will include new rules for dealing with members of the State’s intern program, which draws interns from public universities for the four and one half month legislative session.

Under the new training program, legislators will be given a lengthy list of acceptable and unacceptable behavior, including behavior to avoid such as sexual comments, innuendos, or suggestive comments about body image, choice of clothes, or sexual activity. Importantly, the training will cover electronic based harassment such as text messages and voice mails to co-workers.

Sexual Harassment Training Can Reduce the Number of Claims

When asked about the new training regimen the current House Speaker mentioned “there is no rule or law that can make our imperfect process perfect...” While this statement may be correct, Syntrio has years of expertise providing online sexual harassment training to companies and government agencies of all sizes. In our experience, those that receive the training are better prepared to make the proper decisions when faced with a situation where questionable conduct could arise.

California sexual harassment training is somewhat unique in that it is mandatory per statute (as is also the case in Maine and Connecticut). In those states where training is not mandatory it is very likely that some or all of the scandals that led to the recent reactive “rush to train” scenarios would never have occurred if proactive training were adopted by companies and government agencies. While the Missouri House Speaker is correct that it is impossible to prevent all incidents of sexual harassment, the evidence shows that sexual harassment training works as an educational deterrent to objectionable behavior.

Syntrio’s sexual harassment training courses use real life scenarios and calculated hypotheticals to teach the dangers of allowing harassment to persist at your company. By discussing real cases and developing vignettes based on reality your managers will not only learn the federal and state discrimination laws, they will see how they apply in the workplace. Indeed, our courses do not just teach the “black letter law,” they have true practical value for your managers and employees that many competing courses do not.

Syntrio is committed to helping businesses avoid the costly mistakes associated with sexual harassment. We are also able to custom-tailor our courses to fit the needs of your business. Contact Syntrio for more information about our employment discrimination courses for employees and management and remember to follow us on TwitterGoogle Plus and LinkedIn for daily updates on compliance issues that may impact your company!

 

Study Finds Extremely High Rates of Campus Sexual Assault

A January 2016 study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics revealed that during the 2014-2015 school year a shocking 10.3 percent of women surveyed at the undergraduate level had been victims of sexual assault. The sample size of women included 15,000 female students from nine different universities. According to the findings of the survey it is clear that campuses have a long way to go with respect to reducing and eliminating the number of sexually violent crimes and incidents of violence towards women on their campuses.

Scott Berkowitz, President of the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (“RAINN”) called the survey findings “alarming” in an interview with Yahoo! News, and noted that insights gained by the study revealed that rates of sexual assault among non-heterosexual female students were “significantly higher” than among heterosexual students. On a somewhat positive note for the potential reduction of these incidents, Berkowitz also mentioned the study showed that the rates of assault at the school with the worst statistics were five times higher than that with the best, which showed that prevention programs, strong leadership, and holding offenders accountable has a significant effect on the number of assaults on a particular campus.

Surveys such as the one conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics are mandatory as part of the Campus Accountability and Safety Act (“SaVE”), which seeks to provide greater protections for students and employees on college and university campuses who are at increased risk of sexual assault. In addition to mandatory statistics reporting, Campus SaVE also requires education and training aimed at reducing the number of assaults on campuses across the country. Since Congress enacted the Campus SaVE legislation in fall 2014 campuses have scrambled to implement more detailed training programs in order to comply with the Act’s requirements.

Prior to Congress enacting Campus SaVE, Syntrio began formulating a training program aimed at reducing the incidents of violence against women on college campuses. Syntrio’s Campus Aware online training program is designed to meet the mandatory requirements of Campus SaVE, and addresses Title IX concerns. It also addresses important subjects including sexual harassment and violence, consent, and bystander intervention. The material also instructs members of the campus community to how to respond to and prevent sexual violence.

Syntrio is committed to helping colleges and universities avoid the disasters associated with sexually violent incidents occurring on campus. We are also able to custom-tailor our courses to fit the needs of your institution.  Contact www.syntrio.com for more information about our prevention of campus violence courses member to follow us on Twitter, Google Plus and LinkedIn for daily updates on ethics and compliance issues that may impact your institution!