An Ounce of Prevention: Stop Harassment in the Workplace before it starts

Posted by Lisa Harrison - September 03, 2019


We’ve all heard the Ben Franklin saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” As it turns out, preventing harassment in the workplace may be the “cure” we’re looking for and soon it may be a requirement in your state. A growing number of states and local jurisdictions are enacting legislation requiring employers to provide harassment training. Currently, five states - California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New York - require training, two more are pending final signature, and many others are considering it. But just because your state may currently not require it, recent court decisions have made it clear that ALL employers in every state should be providing it. So, what to do?


The right tools and a solid foundation …

Combating a complicated problem, like harassment, needs to be multi-faceted. It needs to allow organizations to send consistent messages on policies, expectations and code of conduct to everyone simultaneously. Here are a few “must haves” in successful harassment training programs:

  • Define key terms such as harassment, discrimination and retaliation to ensure learners have the foundational understanding to build upon. Everyone does NOT have the same definition!
  • Use real-world scenarios outlining both illegal and unacceptable behavior. “Showing” can be more impactful than “telling” so use your creativity to design detail-rich scenarios. These can be created through high-quality videos, animation or other media to reinforce the message.
  • Communicate key federal/state/locate laws, making sure to outline your state’s requirements. Check with your organization’s Human Resource department to determine your state’s most updated compliance requirements.
  • Provide strategies for reporting instances of harassment, receiving complaints, documenting examples, and identifying necessary contacts. Learners want clear and concise processes.
  • Gear the learning to both employees and supervisors. They have different roles and responsibilities and the training should reflect that.
  • Use a tracking tool, such as a Learning Management System (LMS), to assess and report on your harassment training program as a whole.

Step toward the cure …

No single program can eliminate complex issues like harassment, discrimination and retaliation. A comprehensive training program will help lay the foundation to foster a respectful and civil workplace and get your company on the right path toward “the cure.”


Looking to Take the First Step?

Our customizable Preventing Harrassment learning series was crafted in partnership with some of our nation's leading labor attorneys and is compliant in all 50 states. It provides comprehensive training that supports your organization and gives you the tools you need to help stop harassment in the workplace before it begins. 

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Topics: Preventing Harassment, training and development

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