The law mandates that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) must investigate all federal harassment claims before they can go to court. Last year there were 13,000 sexual harassment claims filed – far more than claims for discrimination based on race or religion. Sixteen percent of the sexual harassment claims were filed by men.
For decades, most U.S. companies have provided anti-harassment programs and training for their employees, in fact some states like California are very strict about training requirements. So why is sexual harassment still so prevalent in the workplace? The sad truth is that the training programs and HR policies that disavow “harassment of any kind” exist mostly to protect those companies from liability in lawsuits. There is a $4 billion market for HR software for compliance training that grew out of two Supreme Court decisions in 1988 that held companies liable for harassment.
Training Programs on Harassment Are Ineffective
These “steps” range from software programs that have employees read about appropriate behavior for the workplace and then answer questions afterwards to demonstrate the materials have been completed and absorbed, to educational films, to stage plays. Are they effective? The EEOC’s own task force on harassment concludes that “much of the training done over the last 30 years has not worked as a prevention tool.” Skillsoft, a company that makes videos for a variety of compliance training topics, says that the majority of their clients order the basic level of training that makes their employees aware of their obligations under the law. The Skillsoft comprehensive program that allows employees to report harassment they have experienced in the past is used by fewer than 20 percent of their customers.
To improve sexual harassment training programs more research is needed, and to perform research more data is needed to study the effectiveness of compliance training. However, companies are rarely forthcoming with answers as to whether or not their training programs produce results.
Despite these facts, the EEOC does not recommend getting rid of compliance training. Instead, sexual harassment training needs to be supplemented with additional broader programs that address the subjects of respect and civility. Dealing only with legal definitions leaves out whole categories of behavior that while still legal are not appropriate.
Cherry Hill Sexual Harassment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Advocate for Victims of Sexual Harassment in South Jersey
No one should have to suffer sexual harassment at work. If you or someone you love has been harassed at work, the Cherry Hill employment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. can help you. We have over 30 years of experience fighting discrimination and will protect your rights as we fight your case. Call 215-569-1999 or contact us online. We serve clients throughout New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York.