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Anti Sexual Harassment Training and POSH Compliance

POSH Training in Chandigarh Panchkula Mohali

Sexual harassment is the most common type of workplace harassment, with recent studies showing more than 50% of employees reporting experiencing this form of harassment at work. Employers must strive to eliminate sexual harassment in the workplace, and avoid the negative effects on productivity, morale, and culture.

The definition of sexual harassment, per The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is as follows:

Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when such conduct:

explicitly or implicitly affects an individual's employment unreasonably interferes with an individual's work performance creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.

Also Read- Sexual Harassment

Education is a key first step in avoiding sexual harassment in the workplace, on all levels of your organization, with additional training for Management staff on properly handling reported cases.  The final step is setting up a process for when sexual harassment occurs: handling complaints, investigations, and corrective measures.

According to a 2016 report from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), as many as 85 percent of women have experienced some form of sexual harassment at work .

The response that many organizations are taking to end sexual harassment is comparable to using a small bandage on a compound fracture.

The EEOC task force found a majority of corporate sexual harassment prevention training programs have not prevented harassment even though NPR’s Marketplace reports that the anti-harassment training industry’s annual revenue reaches into the billions of dollars 

Also Read- METOOMOVEMENT IN INDIA

 

WHY TRAINING FAILS

Most organizations see anti-sexual harassment training as a mandatory compliance issue. Their goal is to be able to “check the box,” so they can demonstrate a good faith effort once they are sued. The Supreme Court’s decisions in Ellerth and Faragher provided employers an incentive to demonstrate they had taken appropriate steps to prevent harassment. Requiring employers to put training into place is a staple of the conciliation agreements and consent decrees that EEOC and private plaintiff attorneys negotiate every year. If a company can prove it made a good faith effort to limit harassment in the workplace, a judge or jury may limit the company’s liability when someone working there breaks the law.

The focus on avoiding legal liability results in hundreds of highly ineffective solutions. Many organizations turn to the least expensive “solution” with poorly acted videos demonstrating blatant and unrealistic scenarios that turn the training into a joke. Other online training is nothing more than a PowerPoint with a voice-over. Employees viewing these videos are getting a clear message that they have to do this for compliance, which sends a message that the company really is not committed to doing anything beyond the minimum. Thus, the training results in more cynicism.

Other highly ineffective training alternatives are two-hour mandatory training programs, which may include more than 125 slides on definitions, policies, and procedures with little or no self-analysis.

Also Read- SEXUAL HARASSMENT COMPLAINT

 

HOW TO CREATE AN EFFECTIVE ANTI-HARASSMENT PROGRAM

A meta-analysis of the research, and based on delivering hundreds of programs, reveals several factors that will increase the likelihood of a successful anti-harassment training program:

1. Leadership, leadership, leadership: There must be an unequivocal commitment by senior leadership to take responsibility for the actions of others and demonstrate this through policies and practices that affect reward and recognition. Whenever possible, senior leaders should deliver the message in person; otherwise, there should be an unequivocal introductory message.

2. Training must be done in-person whenever possible. Live trainers who are dynamic, engaging, and have full command of the subject matter are the most likely to deliver effective training. Professional and experienced facilitators who have a commitment to creating an inclusive organization should deliver the training. An in-person trainer, experienced in guiding the conversation, is most suited to work through questions with the participants. If providing in-person training is not feasible because of cost or a physically dispersed workforce, interactive Webinars (which can be recorded), tailored to the organization’s specific workplace culture and workforce, should be created and should include engagement activities by the participants.

3. In addition to reviewing definitions and policies around harassment, the training must be highly interactive and contain real-life scenarios. Ideally role-plays or well-done video scenarios can be practiced or viewed, followed by an examination of “What did you see?” Often, there are multiple interpretations of the same situation. A good facilitator will help others to see this and help the participants develop an enhanced ability to clarify misunderstandings before they result in more damaging situations.

4. Anti-sexual harassment training must be part of a broader anti-harassment training initiative. When harassment based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, and other factors is included, there can be a broader understanding of hurtful behaviours, actions, jokes, etc.

5. Training must be tied to accountability, which must be demonstrated. An organization that has an effective anti-harassment program—including an effective and safe reporting system and a clear workplace investigation system with written and proportionate corrective actions—communicates to all employees that the organization takes harassment seriously and will hold everyone accountable. Mid-level managers and front-line supervisors should be held accountable for preventing and/or responding to workplace harassment, utilizing metrics and performance reviews. When trained correctly, middle managers and first-line supervisors, in particular, can be a company’s most valuable resource in preventing and stopping harassment.

6. Sustain the learning. The training should not be a one-and-done experience. A Continuous Contact process can send monthly reminders such as case studies, best practices, and other “nudges” that remind participants to remain mindful of the importance of the training.

7. Anti-harassment training should include a module on what to do when you observe harassment. Bystander intervention training has proven to be a valuable part of any anti-harassment initiative.

8. The training must be customized to the specific industry, workforce, client base, location, level, employee experience, and more. We recently conducted anti-harassment training in the UAE, where it was common practice in a client’s newly acquired location to call female employees by insulting terms such as “babe,” “honey,” etc. Fortunately, our client’s corporate culture would not tolerate such behaviour, and the training helped to broaden awareness and be the first step in enforcing the new norms of the organization. Global organizations should consider conducting training in multiple languages and customizing the programs to be culturally appropriate.

There are many benefits of sexual harassment training for employees. Here are five:

1.  Strengthens your workplace culture 

Training can support and help strengthen an organization’s culture by communicating its values, goals, and policies in creative and meaningful ways that motivate individuals to act ethically, while protecting the organization and its reputation.  

Increases awareness of acceptable and unacceptable behaviour

Since long before allegations against Harvey Weinstein surfaced in October 2017, workplace harassment has been a pervasive problem. The ability to recognize the many different forms of misconduct is an important step in motivating employees to respond when they experience or observe it. 

Also Read- HARASSMENT ON SOCIAL MEDIA IS CYBER BULLYING

 

2 Sends a strong message from the top 

By requiring that all employees participate in training on a regular basis, organizations can send a clear message from the top that when it comes to preventing harassment and other abusive behaviour and creating a respectful workplace, we’re all in this together.  

3 Empowers bystanders

With the support of leadership, bystander intervention training could be a game changer in the workplace, said EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum and co-chair of the harassment task force. “Bystander intervention training can create a sense of collective responsibility on the part of workers and empower them to be engaged bystanders in preventing harassment

4 Encourages reporting

Many incidents of harassment and discrimination go unreported, which can result in a toxic work environment. This can lead to lower morale and productivity, hurt recruiting and retention efforts, and negatively affect relationships with customers, partners and others. Training can be an effective tool for educating and encouraging employees to report incidents or potential problems. Organizations can look to training as one of the most direct ways to explain their formal complaint process and increase awareness of the organization’s ethics hotline, dedicated email and other reporting mechanisms.  

5 Traliant Insight

In today’s complex #MeToo environment, it’s essential that employees at every level and location understand how to recognize unacceptable behaviour, how to report it and how to respond to and support co-workers and colleagues who may encounter it. Anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training, especially when tailored to your specific culture, industry and workforce, can be a strategic tool to educate, influence, and motivate positive behaviour and change across your organization. That’s something that benefits everyone.

Also Read- SEXUAL HARASSMENT OF WOMEN IN INDIA

 

This post is compiled by Sumitra Nair.

For more info on POSH Compliance and Anti-Sexual Harassment Training and Orientation Sessions, please Call 99888-17966 for LegalSeva. The best of advocate and lawyers handling POSH Compliance and Anti Sexual Harassment will be at your assistance.

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