With the recent string of sexual harassment allegations in the entertainment industry, it’s worth looking internally at your own business to see if any of the behaviors – whether they are small or large acts of aggression – are treated as permissive in the workplace.
If there is any question about the behavior of even one of your employees, this is a good time to ask: Do we need to undergo sexual harassment training?
Regular sexual harassment training can keep employees aware of all the ways their actions and words may make others feel uncomfortable in an environment that isn’t accusatory. If everyone is taking the training, no one is being singled out. This can be useful for employees who have worked in an office environment that wasn’t proactive in handling sexual harassment incidents. Think of the employees who “didn’t have this sexual harassment thing” back in their day.
Sexual harassment training in the Senate
This is exactly what the U.S. Senate is currently trying to do in Congress. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) co-authored S.Res.330 with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-IA), which mandates anti-harassment training for senators and officers, employees, and interns of, and detailees to the Senate.
The measure passed in the Senate on November 9, and mandates that training must be completed by each Senate employee covered under the legislation within 60 days. The training is also to be repeated at least as often as each congressional session.
Commenting on the resolution’s approval, Sen. Klobuchar, who is also a ranking member of the Senate Rules Committee, said “Making harassment training mandatory in the Senate sends a clear message: harassment of any kind is not and will not be tolerated in Congress.”
This clear message is the kind you should aim to send in your office. If you are looking to offer mandatory sexual harassment training in your office for the first time, talking to a professional well versed in employment issues can provide guidance to create a program that is useful to employees and creates a healthy work environment for everyone.