What Is Anti-Harassment Training, and Should Your Business Invest in It?

Anti-Harassment Workplace

Imagine this scenario: Four coworkers are gathered in the break room. Jim, Carlos, Ticia, and Rebecca. Jim, Carlos, and Ticia are laughing about jokes or a scenario that occurred outside of work. Rebecca is uncomfortable with the conversation and actions because she believes they are derogatory toward certain people.

When the others realize Rebecca is uncomfortable, they find this funny too and joke about it, making her even more uncomfortable. They continue laughing as they leave the break room to get back to work, even though Rebecca has told them they should stop.

Is this harassment? It could be. According to the Department of Labor, behaviors that contribute to a hostile working environment can be considered harassment.

Unfortunately, not everyone realizes where the line is, and employees can engage in harassing behavior without a desire to do so. Certainly there are people who do purposefully harass others, but anti-harassment training can educate employees who don’t want to cross the line while providing tools for victims if someone does.

Find out more about anti-harassment training below. And if you’re not sure if you’re covering all the necessary training for your staff on this and other topics, reach out to America’s Back Office for help. Our turnkey HR solutions can help you cover compliance bases and free you up to train and manage staff.

What Is Anti-Harassment Training?

Anti-harassment training is provided by employers for employees. It can be led by corporate training teams or HR professionals, but many organizations invest in third-party training. This ensures that owners and managers at all levels can also be included in the training for comprehensive coverage. It also helps alleviate any concerns that the training itself could be biased.

The training teaches people about what type of behavior is appropriate in the workplace, particularly when dealing with coworkers, customers, and others.

When people talk about anti-harassment training, they often specifically mean sexual harassment training. But these are not the same thing — sexual harassment is only one form of potential workplace harassment. Good training programs cover all types of harassment, including sexual harassment.

What’s Commonly Covered in Anti-Harassment Training?

This training is typically about compliance as well as helping people understand exactly what harassment is and how they should respond if they are a target of it. Training should help people understand how not to engage in harassment, particularly where it might seem like a gray area, and take action if they believe they are a victim. To that end, training might include:

  • Definitions of discrimination and harassment based on federal and state law.
  • Examples and illustrations of how these things might play out in the workplace.
  • Information about what employees can do if they feel they are being harassed, including how to file claims.
  • Discussions about your company’s policy on discrimination and harassment and what actions you take to protect employees from it proactively.
  • What it means to work in an inclusive workplace, including each person’s obligations to support inclusion.

For help ensuring your anti-harassment training is comprehensive and covers all applicable laws and other requirements, reach out to America’s Back Office to speak with an HR consultant.

What Are Some Benefits of Anti-Harassment Training?

  1. Better compliance. Anti-harassment training ensures everyone, at all levels of the company, knows what the law is and how to stay on the right side of it. That reduces the chance that someone will engage in harassing behavior and put your company at risk of lawsuits or other negative consequences. It also sends the message that your business will not allow such behavior, increasing the chance that people report things before they become larger legal issues. Often, someone doesn’t mean to engage in actions that create a hostile environment and coaching and consequences can help them turn their actions around.
  2. Increased employee morale. Employees who know harassment isn’t supported and have clear channels for seeking help may be happier in the workplace. They may also be more likely to support each other in weeding out bad actors, which can improve the functionality and camaraderie of your entire team.
  3. Creates a culture of inclusion. Anti-harassment training should cover all types of harassments, including treatment motivated by gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, age, or ethnicity. Sending the message that everyone should be treated equally and well helps set up a culture of inclusion for your workplace.

Does Your Business Need Anti-Harassment Training?

In many cases, harassment training isn’t required by law. The regulations are different in each state, but most have no requirements or only require training for public or state employees.

However, that doesn’t mean you don’t need anti-harassment training. Building this type of training into your onboarding and orientation processes, as well as your annual compliance training, can be a good idea. It helps ensure you get the benefits above and provides some protection against harassment issues that could lead to costly lawsuits or problems for your employer or brand reputation.

How America’s Back Office Can Help

America’s Back Office partners with businesses to offer turnkey HR solutions. By taking on day-to-day functions that can include payroll or consulting with businesses on compliance matters, we free up internal HR resources and other business leaders to manage employees. That includes being able to identify the right type of training and implement it in a proactive and efficient fashion.

Contact us today to speak to an HR consultant to learn more about how we can help you.