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.

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