Texas Sexual Harassment: What you need to know

Texas Sexual Harassment: What you need to know

The Texas Commission on Human Rights Act prohibits employment practices that discriminate against individuals based on sex, including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions (TX Labor Code Sec. 21.106). Sexual harassment is generally included in this definition. The Act covers all public employers and private employers with 15 or more employees (TX Labor Code Sec. 21.001 et seq.). There is additional information and details.

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An employer will be held liable for sexual harassment if an employee can show that an employer knew or should have known of a supervisor's sexual harassment and failed to take prompt remedial action (Colbert v. Georgia Pacific Corp., 995 F. Supp. 697 (N.D. Tex. 1998)).

An employer will be held liable for sexual harassment if its actions were not reasonably calculated to stop the harassment (Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Wendy Davis, 979 S.W.2d 30 (3rd Dist. Tex. App. 1998); Burlington Indus., Inc. v. Ellerth, 118 S. Ct. 2257 (1998)).

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that an employee must have the power to directly affect the terms and conditions of a coworker to be considered a supervisor under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) (Wooten v. FedEx Corp., 325 Fed.Appx. 297 (5th Cir. 2009)). In this case, two employees claimed they were subjected to a hostile work environment because of their interracial relationship. They also alleged that a coworker who had the authority to assign their deliveries had sufficient authority over their activities to be considered a supervisor under Title VII. However, the court disagreed, citing the fact that the coworker had no power to discipline the employees or evaluate their performance. Note: ...

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Texas Sexual Harassment Training Requirements

Texas Sexual Harassment Training Requirements

Sexual Harrassment Class offers the most widely accepted sexual harassment training for business and working professionals. Our online sexual harassment trainings are accepted and used throughout the United States as well as Canada and abroad. We have both english and spanish sexual harassment classes to meet your requirements.

This following information are the training requirements for the state of Texas. Please contact us with your specific needs.

Texas Sexual Harassment Training Requirements
Training Type: Mandatory
Employers Covered: State Agencies
Employees Covered: All state employees: new employees within 30 days of hire and every 2 years thereafter
Other Information: Information regarding the agency’s policies and procedures related to employment discrimination, including harassment
State Legal Information:
Statute -Employment Discrimination Law
Tex. Lab. Code § 21.010

In addition to the sexual harassment training requirements in Texas you should also consider sexual harassment training if you meet any of the following criteria:

  • You have employees working in states other than Texas (please check each states' requirements below),
  • You are an educational institution who worries about meeting Title IX training requirements,
  • You have had problems with sexual harassment or other types of harassment in your organization in the past, or
  • You wish to mitigate potential liability for sexual harassment in your organization.

Sexual Harassment Training Requirements by State

Select any state below to see its sexual harassment training requirements:

•  Alabama Training Requirements •  Nebraska Training Requirements
•  Alaska Training Requirements •  Nevada Training Requirements
•  Arizona Training Requirements •  New Hampshire Training Requirements
•  Arkansas Training Requirements •  New Jersey Training Requirements
•  California Training Requirements •  New Mexico Training Requirements
•  Colorado Training Requirements •  New York Training Requirements
•  Connecticut Training Requirements •  North Carolina Training Requirements
•  Delaware Training Requirements •  North Dakota Training Requirements
•  Florida Training Requirements •  Ohio Training Requirements
•  Georgia Training Requirements •  Oklahoma Training Requirements
•  Hawaii Training Requirements •  Oregon Training Requirements
•  Idaho Training Requirements •  Pennsylvania Training Requirements
•  Illinois Training Requirements •  Rhode Island Training Requirements
•  Indiana Training Requirements •  South Carolina Training Requirements
•  Iowa Training Requirements •  South Dakota Training Requirements
•  Kansas Training Requirements •  Tennessee Training Requirements
•  Kentucky Training Requirements •  Texas Training Requirements
•  Louisiana Training Requirements •  Utah Training Requirements
•  Maine Training Requirements •  Vermont Training Requirements
•  Maryland Training Requirements •  Virginia Training Requirements
•  Massachusetts Training Requirements •  Washington Training Requirements
•  Michigan Training Requirements •  Washington, D.C. Training Requirements
•  Minnesota Training Requirements •  West Virginia Training Requirements
•  Mississippi Training Requirements •  Wisconsin Training Requirements
•  Missouri Training Requirements •  Wyoming Training Requirements
•  Montana Training Requirements  
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Texas leaders call for training on sexual harassment — but can't require it for lawmakers

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Texas leaders call for training on sexual harassment — but can't require it for lawmakers

Legislative leaders looking to create better training to prevent sexual harassment will likely face a roadblock if they want to get lawmakers in the room. 

by Jolie McCullough, Alexa Ura and Morgan Smith Nov. 16, 2017 4 PM



An empty corridor at the Capitol.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

The Texas Tribune thanks its sponsors.

Top Texas lawmakers have called for reviews of sexual harassment policies at the state Capitol following reports detailing how current procedures offered little protection for victims. Proposed solutions have included better training aimed at preventing harassment and informing victims of their rights.

But legislative leaders will likely face a roadblock if they want to force lawmakers into any sort of anti-harassment training: They can’t require it of individual legislators, some of whom were behind the worst behavior recounted to the Tribune. A nearly 20-year-old law that orders training for all employees at other state entities — but not the Legislature — could offer a possible solution.

The complexities behind management at the Capitol means lawmakers are subject to the rules of each chamber but, as elected officials, are largely in control of their own offices.

"There is going to be mandatory training — for everybody," state Rep. Charlie Geren said Thursday of the policy the House is developing. The Fort Worth Republican chairs the House Administration Committee, where sexual harassment complaints are supposed to go under the House’s current policy. “I may not be able to make them do it, but we are going to tell them it’s mandatory."

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House Speaker Joe Straus acknowledged this limitation Tuesday in his call for the training program.

Through a spokesman’s statement, Straus said he would make the training mandatory for his staff and those employed directly by the chamber, including recordkeepers and payroll personnel. But that mandate fell short of House members. Instead, the statement said Straus would “strongly encourage” them to attend and “ensure” that their staff do as well.

In the Senate, sexual harassment training has been in place for some employees for at least a decade. Patsy Spaw, secretary of the chamber, implemented the program after she took the job in 2001, but she said it only requires staffers employed directly by the Senate to attend, not individual member offices.

“There’s not any policy that requires [training], it’s just me insisting that we do it,” Spaw said.

She noted she’s had “absolute support” from the three lieutenant governors she’s served under who also have required their staffs to attend the training. Some senators require their employees to attend, but senators themselves never do, she said.

In 1999, legislators wrote a law requiring state agencies — including the executive branch, state courts and higher education institutions — to provide employment anti-discrimination training, which covers sexual harassment, for all of their employees every two years.

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But they did not require any training for themselves and their own offices.

It’s unclear whether Straus or Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who leads the Senate, would endorse a change to state statute to add the legislative branch to the list of state entities required to provide training for all employees, including lawmakers. Spokesmen for both legislative leaders did not respond to questions on that topic.

Both asked for reviews of their respective chamber's sexual harassment policies a day after the Tribune detailed flaws in the policies that leave victims to fend for themselves. The Daily Beast had earlier detailed accounts of sexual assault in the Legislature.

A spokeswoman for Gov. Greg Abbott said on Thursday that the governor's office had, at the request of the House and Senate, shared its "agency policy provisions regarding Equal Employment Opportunity training and our complaint process."

Lawmakers in both chambers this week have spoken out in support of mandated training for everyone, including themselves.

State Sen. Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston, previously pointed to a recent measure passed in the U.S. Senate, requiring mandatory sexual harassment training for all senators and their staff. Garcia indicated a tweaked version of that measure — to include both Capitol chambers, state officeholders and their staffs — could work for Texas.

State Rep. Tom Oliverson, a Cypress Republican who sits on the House Administration Committee, endorsed training for both Capitol staffers and legislators.

"Even if there was a point at which that kind of behavior was tolerated, we’re not at that point anymore,” Oliverson said. “This is the 21st century, and I think we all need to grow up, act like adults and treat each other with respect."

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Despite that support, any revisions or policies put into place without legislation would be at the mercy of those currently in power.

The legislative chambers are governed by rules and housekeeping resolutions set at the beginning of every Legislature, which occurs every two years. And rules or processes related to sexual harassment training, like any other chamber rules, can be amended or wiped away at any time the majority of the chamber desires.

For example, Straus, who is retiring, has asked for a training program, but nothing would stop his successor from eliminating it later if it's only adopted as a chamber policy. And Spaw, who runs the program in the Senate, could be replaced by someone who doesn’t carry on with the training.

This dilemma isn’t unique to Texas. Across the country, making rules for “required training and other procedures” for elected officials is “generally left to party and chamber leaders” who change frequently, according to a report by The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Stateline.

If lawmakers did turn to the existing law to require training, the overall statute would probably need to be updated, state Rep. Donna Howard said, to provide guidance for what training programs should look like and penalties to enforce it. But Howard did underline the need for a solution that’s not dependent on elected officials.

Howard, along with other lawmakers, have also indicated that training isn’t the only solution Capitol leaders should consider. Some have called for an independent entity to oversee sexual harassment complaints. Others are seeking more punitive measures for individuals found guilty of misconduct.

"I think whatever method is used, it needs to be one that provides consistency and not be subject to whoever houses a particular office,” Howard, an Austin Democrat who sits on the House Administration Committee, said Thursday. “So if that requires a statute, that’s what it should be."

Edgar Walters contributed to this report.

Help us investigate sexual harassment at the Texas Capitol by confidentially sharing your experience with our reporters. You may contact our reporters directly, or if you're more comfortable contacting us anonymously, send an encrypted message to the Tribune with the messaging app Signal at (512) 745-2713.

For more options on how to send us information securely, visit our tips page.

Read related Tribune coverage:

·        Interviews with more than two dozen current and former lawmakers and legislative aides indicate sexual harassment regularly goes unchecked at the Texas Capitol. And sexual harassment policies rely on officials with little incentive or authority to enforce them, particularly in cases of harassment by lawmakers. [Full story]

·        Lawmakers in the Texas House and Senate called for a review of sexual harassment policies Tuesday following a Texas Tribune story detailing how current procedures offered little protection for victims. [Full story]

·        Analysis: It's hard to argue that Texas lawmakers do as much as they could to protect the victims of sexual harassment in the state Capitol — staffers, lobbyists and even some female lawmakers. It's been a boys club for a long, long time. [Full story]

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Sexual Harassment Training Requirements

Sexual Harassment Training Requirements

By Beth Greenwood; Updated July 05, 2017


Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images

Sexual harassment is illegal under federal law. Considered a form of sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, sexual harassment is a complex issue that can occur in a variety of circumstances. Perpetrators can be male or female, and victims can be of the same or opposite sex. Because sexual harassment grievances occur in the workplace and are covered under Title VII, many organizations offer training on this issue. Training is not mandated under federal law in most cases, but some states mandate their own sexual harassment training.



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Perspective Discussion of news topics with a point of view, including narratives by individuals regarding their own experiences

What’s the point of sexual harassment training? Often, to protect employers.

The House and Senate have moved to adopt mandatory sexual harassment awareness training. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) and Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) want to additionally reform the way Congress handles sexual harassment complaints, making the process easier for victims and less protective of offenders. (Shawn Thew/Epa-Efe/Rex/Shutterstock)

By Lauren B. Edelman By Lauren B. Edelman



Perspective Discussion of news topics with a point of view, including narratives by individuals regarding their own experiences

November 17

Lauren B. Edelman is the Agnes Roddy Robb professor of law and professor of sociology at the University of California at Berkeley, and the author of “Working Law: Courts, Corporations and Symbolic Civil Rights.”

Now that we’ve had something of an awakening about the pervasiveness of sexual harassment in the American workplace, the conversation is shifting to what to do about it. In many workplaces, the answer seems to be that we need mandatory training and clearer policies.

That seems to be the dominant thinking on Capitol Hill. After more than 1,500 former congressional aides signed a letter calling for action, the House and Senate adopted mandatory anti-harassment training for all lawmakers and staffers. This “sends a clear message: harassment of any kind is not and will not be tolerated in Congress,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Rules Committee, said in a statement.

Unfortunately, there is little evidence that training reduces sexual harassment. Rather, training programs, along with anti-harassment policies and reporting procedures, do more to shield employers from liability than to protect employees from harassment. And the clearest message they send is to the courts: Nothing to see here, folks.

There have been only a handful of empirical studies of sexual harassment training, and the research has not established that such training is effective. Some studies suggest that training may in fact backfire, reinforcing gendered stereotypes that place women at a disadvantage.

A 2001 study of a sexual harassment program for faculty and staff at a university found, based on responses to a questionnaire, that training increased knowledge about laws pertaining to sexual harassment but had no significant positive effects on behavior. Men who participated in the training were less likely to view coercion of a subordinate as sexual harassment, less willing to report harassment and more inclined to blame the victim than were women or men who had not gone through the training.

Forcing people into training may be especially ill-advised. Another study found that mandatory diversity training — which is broader than, but similar to, harassment training — did not increase the proportion of white women in management and actually led to a decrease in the proportion of black women. Voluntary diversity training had more positive effects.

A recent task force commissioned by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission cautioned against drawing general conclusions from the small body of research, with each study looking at a differently designed training intervention. But real-world case studies suggest skepticism. For example, California has mandated sexual harassment training since 2005 for all supervisors at companies with more than 50 employees. And yet that didn’t prevent widespread and egregious harassment at San Francisco-based Uber, the University of California system and the state Capitol, among other workplaces.

Likewise, virtually all large employers in the United States have anti-harassment policies and complaint procedures in place. Yet workplace sexual harassment remains common.

My research — based on surveys of organizations, interviews with human resources personnel and analyses of federal court opinions — has found that such policies coexist with work environments where prominent supervisors pressure subordinates for sexual encounters and where sexual banter makes women and others uncomfortable. (Workplace harassment on the basis of race, disabilities or religion is also common.)

Sexual harassment complaint procedures are often ineffective, either because they are not publicized or because the culture of the organization makes employees who experience harassment reluctant to take action. Multiple scholars have shown that employees often choose not to complain in order to show that they are team players, to avoid further humiliation, because they fear retaliation or because they think their complaints will not be taken seriously. Employees often prefer to think of themselves as survivors who can take harassment, as opposed to victims who cannot. Some worry that if they speak out, their powerful emotions will cause them to behave inappropriately, so they bottle up the humiliation. Some blame themselves. Many women (and people of color) have come to take harassment for granted as a part of workplace life that must be endured to succeed.

Interviews that my collaborators and I conducted with human resources professionals, as well as a study by Anna-Maria Marshall of sexual harassment in a university setting, have shown that those who handle complaints — usually HR professionals — often discourage potential complainants, suggesting that they should just ignore the harassment or that the behavior does not meet the (ambiguous) legal standard for sexual harassment.

When HR professionals do investigate, my interviews and analyses of human resources journals have shown, they often characterize sexual harassment complaints as instances of poor management or as interpersonal difficulties rather than as violations of law. To remedy the situation, they may transfer the complaining employee to another department or advise one or both parties to seek counseling or arrange for an apology, but they rarely take strong disciplinary actions against harassers. My interviews showed that employers may issue a warning and sometimes even impose a financial penalty, but public action (such as firing the harasser or revealing the reason for a penalty) is rare, because they worry about defamation suits by perpetrators as much as or more than discrimination suits by victims.

[How confidentiality agreements hurt — and help — victims of sexual harassment]

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 bans discrimination on the basis of sex but does not explicitly address sexual harassment. Following the 1979 publication of Catharine MacKinnon’s book “Sexual Harassment of Working Women,” the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency responsible for enforcing the law, issued guidance advising employers to take preventive action against harassment. My surveys, as well as those of Frank Dobbin and Alexandra Kalev, show that employers, spurred largely by the human resources profession, quickly created written policies banning sexual harassment and complaint procedures for employees who had experienced it.

Human resources publications from that time show that there wasn’t much concern for the potential targets of harassment. Instead, management scholars and HR officers claimed that these policies would protect employers from liability in the event that a supervisor harassed an employee.

They proved correct. In 1986, in Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson , the Supreme Court recognized sexual harassment as a form of sex-based discrimination and suggested that an effective anti-harassment policy and a complaint procedure — one that is “calculated to encourage victims of harassment to come forward” — might protect an employer from liability. Twelve years later, with the support of an amicus brief by the Society of Human Resource Management, the Faragher v. City of Boca Raton and Burlington Industries, Inc. v. Ellerth cases explicitly created a defense that allows employers to escape liability for some types of sexual harassment by showing that they had taken steps to prevent and promptly respond to claims and that the employee had not taken advantage of remedial options provided by the employer. The decisions in those cases state that a written anti-harassment policy and an “effective” complaint procedure would normally meet the employer’s legal burden to demonstrate preventive action.

Yet courts often fail to distinguish between meaningful compliance efforts and the merely symbolic policies and procedures that do little to protect employees’ legal rights. Examining a representative sample of 1,188 federal court opinions from 1965 through 2014, my research collaborators and I found that courts tend to dismiss suits against employers who show that they have a policy banning harassment and a complaint procedure in place. Judges frequently discount evidence employees present showing that, despite having such policies, employers condone or fail to correct a culture in which harassment and degradation of women are common. And even where employees have good reasons for avoiding complaint procedures, such as fear of retaliation, courts generally see an employee’s failure to complain as a bar to winning a sexual harassment case.

Consider, for example, Leopold v. Baccarat, Inc. , decided by a federal trial court in New York in 2000 and affirmed by a federal appeals court in 2001. Andree Leopold, a saleswoman for the Baccarat china and crystal company, sued after her supervisor repeatedly threatened to replace her with someone “young and sexy ” and referred to saleswomen using vulgar, dismissive language. Baccarat pointed to its policy against harassment and its grievance procedure. Leopold claimed that she did not use the grievance procedure because (like many procedures) it would have required her to report the harassment to her immediate supervisor, who in this case was the supervisor she was accusing of harassment, and because the policy lacked a guarantee that she would be protected from retaliation. The court ruled in favor of Baccarat anyway, recognizing that the procedure was inadequate in some ways but nonetheless stating that “the law is very clear that any reasonable policy will do.”

Studies in social psychology conducted by Cheryl Kaiser and Brenda Major may help explain judges’ tendencies to disregard evidence of harassment when companies have anti-harassment policies and complaint procedures in place. In experimental work, Kaiser and Major have found that the presence of diversity efforts creates an “illusion of fairness,” which causes people to overlook unequal treatment.

We have become a symbolic civil rights society, in which symbols of diversity and equal opportunity often mask legal violations.

So what might actually make a difference?

For our judicial system to provide effective redress, plaintiffs’ lawyers must challenge ineffective anti-harassment policies and complaint procedures that are not accessible or fair. Judges, for their part, should avoid inferring a good-faith effort to prevent harassment from the mere presence of training, policies and complaint procedures, and they should recognize that employees often fear or are discouraged from using those complaint procedures.

Certainly there are some organizations in which managers take civil rights seriously and human resources personnel take great pains to investigate and remedy complaints of harassment. But employers who care about protecting potential targets of harassment, rather than just their own liability, should consider making anti-harassment training voluntary, not mandatory. They should make complaint systems accessible and ensure that discipline is prompt and proportionate. They should conduct climate surveys to assess the prevalence of harassment. And they should hold managers accountable for ensuring that their units are harassment-free — with compensation reflecting their success in doing so. The “me too” legislation introduced by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday includes some of these additional elements (although it still proposes mandatory training). The goal is to reform how Congress handles harassment complaints in a way that is more supportive of victims and less protective of the institution.

And yet we need not just rules and procedures but a broad recognition that power and inequality make it easy for people at the top to abuse people lower in the hierarchy, and extremely difficult for those at the bottom to do anything about it. A culture free of harassment will require widespread respect for women and equal representation of women in leadership. Capitol Hill is a good place to start.

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Diversity and inclusion: The reality gap 2017 Global Human Capital Trends

Diversity and inclusion: The reality gap 2017 Global Human Capital Trends

Juliet Bourke, Stacia Garr, Ardie van Berkel, Jungle Wong

February 28, 2017

Diversity and inclusion: The reality gap 2017 Global Human Capital Trends

·        Introduction

·        Lessons from the front lines

·        Start here

·        Fast forward

Diversity and inclusion at the workplace are now CEO-level issues, but they continue to be frustrating and challenging for many companies. Why the gap?


Diversity and inclusion has become a CEO-level issue around the world. The digital organization of today, which operates as a network of teams, thrives on empowerment, open dialogue, and inclusive working styles. Leading organizations now see diversity and inclusion as a comprehensive strategy woven into every aspect of the talent life cycle to enhance employee engagement, improve brand, and drive performance. The era of diversity as a “check the box” initiative owned by HR is over. CEOs must take ownership and drive accountability among leaders at all levels to close the gap between what is said and actual impact.

·        In this year’s survey, the proportion of executives who cited inclusion as a top priority has risen by 32 percent compared with our 2014 survey.

·        Over two-thirds (69 percent) of executives rate diversity and inclusion an important issue (up from 59 percent in 2014).

·        Thirty-eight percent of executives report that the primary sponsor of the company’s diversity and inclusion efforts is the CEO.

In today's political, economic, and global business environment, diversity has become increasingly important. The number of executives who cited inclusion as a top priority has risen 32 percent from the Human Capital Trends 2014 survey, and in the last three years, the percentage of companies that rate themselves excellent at gender diversity went up by 72 percent. Based on this year’s survey, 48 percent of companies consider themselves adequate at focusing on global cultural diversity, and 69 percent of companies consider themselves adequate or excellent at supporting a variety of family models in the workforce.

This year, the issue is broader than the standard business case and requires a more comprehensive view: Diversity and inclusion now impacts brand, corporate purpose, and performance. Not only is the public increasingly aware of the issue (witness the scrutiny of gender and racial diversity in the technology industry),1 but employees are also expressing stronger views on diversity and inclusion. Millennials, for example, see inclusion as a mandatory part of corporate culture, defining how the company listens to them at work.2 Shareholders, customers, and suppliers are all taking a closer look at this issue.

As awareness around diversity and inclusion grows, diversity and inclusion have become more important for talent acquisition and a company’s employment brand. Many organizations operate in an environment of high transparency, which employees demand. For younger workers, inclusion is not just about assembling diverse teams but also about connecting team members so that everyone is heard and respected.3 Companies should align their approach with the expectations of Millennials and others, or they will likely lose talent.

If one considers the fact that organizations now operate as networks,4 it becomes even clearer that diversity and inclusion can reinforce organizational performance. New research by Deloitte and other academic institutions demonstrates that diverse and inclusive teams are more innovative, engaged, and creative in their work.5 Our research comparing high-performing teams against lower-performing teams supports the view that people must feel included in order to speak up and fully contribute.6

Despite this increased emphasis and scrutiny, however, we believe businesses face a reality gap: Results appear to be too slow. CEOs who have abdicated responsibility for this issue to the CHRO or chief diversity officer must now take ownership and hold business leaders accountable at all levels. People today are slowly becoming aware of both unconscious and explicit bias, and some organizations are starting to take action to expose the issue and make institutional changes to deal with it.7

The most popular solution today is training. But while such interventions are helpful, it appears that making people aware is not enough. Organizations should consider making structural changes, implementing transparent, data-driven solutions, and immersing executives in the world of bias to give them a visceral understanding of how bias impacts decision making, talent decisions, and business outcomes.

We highlight this trend because this issue has become increasingly important. Employees and stakeholders are starting to voice concerns, but solutions built around training and education are not working well enough. A set of “new rules” is being written that will demand a new focus on experiential learning, process change, data-driven tools, transparency, and accountability.


Diversity and inclusion: Percentage of respondents rating this trend “important” or “very important”

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