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Dec 8, 201510:20 AMThe Bottom Line

with contributors from Associated Bank

Harassment training: Is it really necessary?

(page 1 of 2)

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), approximately 30% of all EEOC charges filed contain an allegation of “harassment.” Tens of millions of dollars are spent each year settling harassment claims at the EEOC. In 2014 alone, the agency reports approximately $35 million was spent resolving sexual harassment claims and more than $68 million was spent resolving non-sexual harassment claims. These figures don’t include all of the money spent in litigation each year alleging workplace harassment.

Your organization is committed to providing a work environment that is free from discrimination and unlawful harassment. You have a written policy in your handbook that states that you will not tolerate discrimination and harassment on the basis of all applicable federal and state protected classes. Isn’t that enough?

It’s a good start. An effective harassment policy will:

  • Describe employee rights and responsibilities.
  • Explain what harassment is.
  • Provide examples of harassment.
  • Outline the harassment reporting procedure.
  • Make it clear that retaliation for reporting harassment claims will not be tolerated.
  • Set forth a general process for investigating harassment complaints.

The EEOC and the Supreme Court have stated prevention is one of the key components to avoiding liability for workplace harassment. But even the best harassment policy will not prevent workplace harassment unless all of your employees understand what workplace harassment is and their role in preventing it from occurring in the first place. Accordingly, harassment training is an essential part of your organization’s efforts to ensure your workplace is harassment-free.

(Continued)

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