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Is Your Employee Harassment Prevention Training in Compliance?

Organizations of all sizes face significant cultural difficulties when their workforce is touched by offensive or harassing behaviors. According to an article by NPR, a whopping 81 percent of women report they have been the subject of sexual harassment in the workplace and that number goes even higher to 90 percent when other reports of harassment involving race, religion, age and other forms of protected workplace harassment come into play. The cost of harassment is not always limited to legal claims and judgments. There are soft costs associated with harassment. According to a Harvard Business Review article, it stated that for “each employee who was sexually harassed, the company lost an average of $22,500 in costs associated with lost productivity.” This is considered a ‘soft cost’ and they are real. Syntrio, a leading provider of workplace education and training content for LightWork® Software’s Learning Management Solution offers these startling statistics in its research on “Why a Harassment Program is Essential for Everyone.” The reports state that soft costs of harassment have a true impact on both large and smaller organizations. With numbers that reflect true employee performance concerns following a harassment incident or claim, such as 48 percent of employees intentionally decreased their work effort, 80 percent spent work time worrying about the incident(s), and 78 percent lowered their commitment to the organization. With this kind of information in hand, organizations would be remiss if they did not put in place a formal workplace harassment prevention program. Initially, in an organization’s onboarding efforts, new employees should undergo workplace harassment training that includes, at a minimum, pass/fail results for accountability. This documentation becomes important if and when an employee and company become involved in addressing a workplace complaint/claim of harassment. The goal for any program would be to create awareness for harassing behaviors, and to prevent and eliminate them in the workplace. Since the Me Too Movement, six states have made it mandatory that employers provide training, in many cases for all employees, initially/upon employment and then repeat/update training with each employee at specific intervals. The training must be in a classroom-type setting with an in-person trainer and/or an interactive method such as a webinar or e-learning solution. Records of the training are required to be kept by each employer. These states are California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine and New York. Other states such as Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Washington, require certain, and in some cases all, state employees to receive the workplace training. The Maryland Commission on Human Relations established guidelines that allow favorable consideration for employers who take steps to prevent sexual harassment. Other states that recommend or encourage sexual harassment prevention training, but do not require it at this time, are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. It should be clear by now that each state has obviously addressed workplace harassment in its own way. New Mexico requires all primary and secondary education providers to undergo harassment prevention training annually. Michigan requires its department of Civil Rights to provide education and training programs to all employers, labor organizations and employment agencies. While Oregon does not require training, it does require a written policy to be in place for all employers in the state. The right learning management system assists employers and HR professionals with quality assurance, legal and policy compliance and documentation. LightWork Learning Management, powered by dialogEDU, is a leader in the field. With a track record of success in education, LightWork Learning Management focuses on individual goals and organizational objectives, with access from anywhere and many different ways to deliver digital courses. Talk to the experts at LightWork® Software about an orientation and learning management system for your organization. Another feature of this dynamic learning platform is that it can be applied to create virtual online conferences for information sharing, telemedicine patient training, or traditional online learning models. This flexible solution is intuitive, secure, and scalable, and the multilingual SaaS platform is available 24/7 globally. To learn more about LightWork Learning Management, visit LightWork Software.


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