Monday, March 17, 2008

Harassment training may save you millions

When is the last time your employees participated in harassment training? Are you sure that everyone is aware of your policies and what to do if they encounter harassment?

Maybe you need to hold a refresher course - it could potentially save you some big bucks.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently announced the settlement of a race and national origin harassment lawsuit for $1.9 million against Allied Aviation Services, Inc. The lawsuit was on behalf of African American and Hispanic workers who were targets of racial slurs, graffiti, cartoons, and hangman’s nooses at a the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport.

“It is appalling that racial harassment remains a persistent problem at some job sites across the country in the 21st century, more than 40 years after passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act,” said EEOC Chair Naomi C. Earp. “Employers must be more vigilant and make clear that race discrimination, whether verbal or behavioral, has no place in the contemporary workplace.”

The EEOC advises employers to use proactive prevention when it comes to harassment. Their list of best practices advises employers to:
  • Develop a strong Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) policy that is embraced by executive management.
  • Train managers and employees on the policy, enforce it and hold company managers accountable.
  • Provide training and mentoring to give workers of all backgrounds the opportunity, skill, experience, and information necessary to perform well, and to ascend to upper-level jobs
Read the full list of EEOC proactive best practices (see section 15-IX).

Whether you’re an employer, manager, trainer or HR professional (or all the above), you can take the first steps to preventing harassment in your workplace.

Implement a policy and enforce it. Educate and train your employees on how to handle and prevent harassment in the workplace. Continue to train employees on all forms of harassment to keep your policies fresh in their minds.

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