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Sexual Harassment Training Requirements

https://careertrend.com/about-5089749-sexual-harassment-training-requirements.html?ref=Track2&utm_source=ask


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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https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/whats-the-point-of-sexual-harassment-training-often-to-protect-employers/2017/11/17/18cd631e-c97c-11e7-aa96-54417592cf72_story.html?utm_term=.296dd7452cd3

 

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Perspective

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)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=https://s3.amazonaws.com/arc-authors/washpost/cf0c5beb-ed9b-4762-97fe-8c168fffbabb.png&w=80&h=80&t=20170517a

By Lauren B. Edelman By Lauren B. Edelman

Outlook

Perspective

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

https://dupress.deloitte.com/dup-us-en/focus/human-capital-trends/2017/diversity-and-inclusion-at-the-workplace.html?id=us:2ps:3gl:confidence:eng:cons:031616:em:dup1179:a3uDf0tw:1034640860:184663656468:e:Human_Capital_Trends:Diversity_Inclusion_Exact:nb


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?

Introduction

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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How to Increase Workplace Diversity

http://guides.wsj.com/management/building-a-workplace-culture/how-to-increase-workplace-diversity/

How to Increase Workplace Diversity
A leadership guide featuring step-by-step how-tos, Wall Street Journal stories and video interviews with CEOs.

  • Tips
    • Develop a hiring strategy to make your workforce resemble the community you operate in.
    • Ask existing employees for referrals.
    • Talk to community organizations to help find candidates.
    • Provide diversity training in your workplace.
  • Feedback
    • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. »

Promoting workplace diversity has many bottom line benefits. But you need to approach the hiring process holistically — retaining employees can be more difficult than recruitment. This is especially true for companies in less diverse regions where relocated minority employees may feel disconnected. You may need to take a more active role in helping them adjust to the culture at work as well as in their new communities.

First, identify what your needs are. Does your workforce resemble the communities that you operate in? Do they match the demographic that you serve or want to serve? If not, develop a hiring strategy to increase workforce diversity.

Talk to local organizations with community connections, including churches, cultural institutions and colleges. They can help you connect with candidates. You can also enlist help from nonprofits like the Urban League, the National Council of La Raza or from websites like diversityworking.com that offer searchable channels of minority job hunters. But don’t limit yourself to local chapters or schools. If you have something to offer out-of-area workers, expand your search to other cities, states or countries. The Internet makes it easy to cast a wide net.

Ask employees for referrals, since they will have peers in the industry or know qualified candidates who may be looking for work. The relationship can also help new employees adjust to the move. Offer rewards for successful referrals.

Develop and implement an equal opportunity employment policy that follows the Federal EEOC (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) guidelines. The goal is to establish a meritorious hiring practice that is age, race, gender and minority neutral. Create a committee to help implement the policy and come up with new ideas on how to attract more diversity to the company. Amend the company mission statement to reflect this change.

Make the job more compelling to job hunters by emphasizing details that will attract a more diverse candidate pool. Be culturally sensitive when describing what makes your company a good place to work.

Provide diversity training in your workplace. All employees should understand that hiring decisions are based on finding the best candidate and not by quotas. Making the recruiting process more transparent can help ease the minds of skeptical employees. Also be sure managers fully understand the benefits of a diverse workplace. They will be implementing personnel policies so should be fully committed to supporting the practice.

Offer benefits such as onsite daycare, childcare subsidies and flexible schedules, and let new hires know that you are willing to accommodate cultural and religious holidays and diversity-friendly (but office appropriate) apparel choices. If your community doesn’t have familiar cultural offerings like ethnic restaurants, specialty markets or international movies, you can work with the local chamber of commerce to campaign for more diversity and fill those needs.

Give new hires a reason to stay. Devote an equal amount of time and effort in retaining new employees. Familiarize them with the new job and company culture. The first few weeks can be the most difficult time for any employee. It’s important to show they have a future in the company. Clearly communicate opportunities for advancement. Set up mentoring programs to build close working relationships. Finding mentors that share personal interests can foster new friendships.

Form affinity groups that empower small groups of employees to brainstorm about improving products or expanding into different markets. Companies get new ideas and employees are reassured their differences are assets.

Learn from your mistakes. Have your human resources department create an exit interview assessment to determine why minority employees are leaving the company and what can be done to curb future loses. Be willing to make changes.

 

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Harassment

https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/harassment.cfm

Harassment

Harassment is a form of employment discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, (ADEA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, (ADA).

Harassment is unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. Harassment becomes unlawful where 1) enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment, or 2) the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive. Anti-discrimination laws also prohibit harassment against individuals in retaliation for filing a discrimination charge, testifying, or participating in any way in an investigation, proceeding, or lawsuit under these laws; or opposing employment practices that they reasonably believe discriminate against individuals, in violation of these laws.

Petty slights, annoyances, and isolated incidents (unless extremely serious) will not rise to the level of illegality. To be unlawful, the conduct must create a work environment that would be intimidating, hostile, or offensive to reasonable people.

Offensive conduct may include, but is not limited to, offensive jokes, slurs, epithets or name calling, physical assaults or threats, intimidation, ridicule or mockery, insults or put-downs, offensive objects or pictures, and interference with work performance. Harassment can occur in a variety of circumstances, including, but not limited to, the following:

·        The harasser can be the victim's supervisor, a supervisor in another area, an agent of the employer, a co-worker, or a non-employee.

·        The victim does not have to be the person harassed, but can be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.

·        Unlawful harassment may occur without economic injury to, or discharge of, the victim.

Prevention is the best tool to eliminate harassment in the workplace. Employers are encouraged to take appropriate steps to prevent and correct unlawful harassment. They should clearly communicate to employees that unwelcome harassing conduct will not be tolerated. They can do this by establishing an effective complaint or grievance process, providing anti-harassment training to their managers and employees, and taking immediate and appropriate action when an employee complains. Employers should strive to create an environment in which employees feel free to raise concerns and are confident that those concerns will be addressed.

Employees are encouraged to inform the harasser directly that the conduct is unwelcome and must stop. Employees should also report harassment to management at an early stage to prevent its escalation.

Employer Liability for Harassment

The employer is automatically liable for harassment by a supervisor that results in a negative employment action such as termination, failure to promote or hire, and loss of wages. If the supervisor's harassment results in a hostile work environment, the employer can avoid liability only if it can prove that: 1) it reasonably tried to prevent and promptly correct the harassing behavior; and 2) the employee unreasonably failed to take advantage of any preventive or corrective opportunities provided by the employer.

The employer will be liable for harassment by non-supervisory employees or non-employees over whom it has control (e.g., independent contractors or customers on the premises), if it knew, or should have known about the harassment and failed to take prompt and appropriate corrective action.

When investigating allegations of harassment, the EEOC looks at the entire record: including the nature of the conduct, and the context in which the alleged incidents occurred. A determination of whether harassment is severe or pervasive enough to be illegal is made on a case-by-case basis.

If you believe that the harassment you are experiencing or witnessing is of a specifically sexual nature, you may want to see EEOC's information on sexual harassment.
A leadership guide featuring step-by-step how-tos, Wall Street Journal stories and video interviews with CEOs.

  • Tips
    • Develop a hiring strategy to make your workforce resemble the community you operate in.
    • Ask existing employees for referrals.
    • Talk to community organizations to help find candidates.
    • Provide diversity training in your workplace.
  • Feedback
    • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. »

Promoting workplace diversity has many bottom line benefits. But you need to approach the hiring process holistically — retaining employees can be more difficult than recruitment. This is especially true for companies in less diverse regions where relocated minority employees may feel disconnected. You may need to take a more active role in helping them adjust to the culture at work as well as in their new communities.

First, identify what your needs are. Does your workforce resemble the communities that you operate in? Do they match the demographic that you serve or want to serve? If not, develop a hiring strategy to increase workforce diversity.

Talk to local organizations with community connections, including churches, cultural institutions and colleges. They can help you connect with candidates. You can also enlist help from nonprofits like the Urban League, the National Council of La Raza or from websites like diversityworking.com that offer searchable channels of minority job hunters. But don’t limit yourself to local chapters or schools. If you have something to offer out-of-area workers, expand your search to other cities, states or countries. The Internet makes it easy to cast a wide net.

Ask employees for referrals, since they will have peers in the industry or know qualified candidates who may be looking for work. The relationship can also help new employees adjust to the move. Offer rewards for successful referrals.

Develop and implement an equal opportunity employment policy that follows the Federal EEOC (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) guidelines. The goal is to establish a meritorious hiring practice that is age, race, gender and minority neutral. Create a committee to help implement the policy and come up with new ideas on how to attract more diversity to the company. Amend the company mission statement to reflect this change.

Make the job more compelling to job hunters by emphasizing details that will attract a more diverse candidate pool. Be culturally sensitive when describing what makes your company a good place to work.

Provide diversity training in your workplace. All employees should understand that hiring decisions are based on finding the best candidate and not by quotas. Making the recruiting process more transparent can help ease the minds of skeptical employees. Also be sure managers fully understand the benefits of a diverse workplace. They will be implementing personnel policies so should be fully committed to supporting the practice.

Offer benefits such as onsite daycare, childcare subsidies and flexible schedules, and let new hires know that you are willing to accommodate cultural and religious holidays and diversity-friendly (but office appropriate) apparel choices. If your community doesn’t have familiar cultural offerings like ethnic restaurants, specialty markets or international movies, you can work with the local chamber of commerce to campaign for more diversity and fill those needs.

Give new hires a reason to stay. Devote an equal amount of time and effort in retaining new employees. Familiarize them with the new job and company culture. The first few weeks can be the most difficult time for any employee. It’s important to show they have a future in the company. Clearly communicate opportunities for advancement. Set up mentoring programs to build close working relationships. Finding mentors that share personal interests can foster new friendships.

Form affinity groups that empower small groups of employees to brainstorm about improving products or expanding into different markets. Companies get new ideas and employees are reassured their differences are assets.

Learn from your mistakes. Have your human resources department create an exit interview assessment to determine why minority employees are leaving the company and what can be done to curb future loses. Be willing to make changes.

 

Continue reading
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Grassley pushing for mandatory harassment training

https://www.politico.com/story/2017/11/01/grassley-congress-harassment-training-244395


Grassley pushing for mandatory harassment training

'Sexual harassment training is vitally important to maintaining a respectful and productive work environment in Congress.'

By ELANA SCHOR

11/01/2017 05:35 AM EDT

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Sen. Chuck Grassley, chief author of the law that established a system for handling workplace misconduct on Capitol Hill, is urging that sexual harassment training be made mandatory, not voluntary, for all upper-chamber employees.

In a Tuesday letter to the Senate Rules Committee, a copy of which was obtained by POLITICO, Grassley, an Iowa Republican, proposed that the panel circulate a letter announcing a new policy that Senate employees be required to attend sexual harassment training — a step that's currently voluntary. Grassley's request comes after a POLITICO report outlined congressional staffers' sparse awareness of the Office of Compliance, the harassment-handling entity created in 1995 by the Grassley-backed Congressional Accountability Act.

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"I am convinced that sexual harassment training is vitally important to maintaining a respectful and productive work environment in Congress," Grassley wrote.

The Iowan, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, noted that "my understanding is that many offices require their staff to participate in sexual harassment training" offered by the OOC. "But as this training is not mandatory, some may not be receiving it," Grassley added.

In the House, the Administration Committee that processes internal chamber rules began a review of current harassment policy on Monday with the approval of the office of Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) has introduced legislation that would streamline the lengthy process a harassment victim must go through on Capitol Hill to get a complaint acted on, while making harassment training mandatory for lawmakers and their staffers.

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When it comes to the Senate's internal policy, Grassley proposed that a letter from the Rules Committee could suffice to promptly make sexual harassment training mandatory for current and new employees. As precedent, he cited a letter from the rules panel issued in July 2016 that required cybersecurity training for all employees "in an effort to protect the Senate's hardware, network, and data."

Beyond Grassley's letter, the OOC is also taking steps to raise its profile among congressional employees who have previously been unaware of its training. In an email circulated among Senate offices on Monday and viewed by POLITICO, the OOC encourages staffers to complete its sexual misconduct awareness program.

ADVERTISING

 

Congress

Capitol Hill’s sexual harassment policy ‘toothless,’ ‘a joke’

By RACHAEL BADE and ELANA SCHOR

"Sexual harassment scandals in the news have provided a watershed moment for employees to prioritize taking the Office of Compliance’s sexual harassment training," OOC publications and outreach manager Laura Cech wrote in the email. "The online training takes less than 30 minutes, but provides valuable information on what behavior is considered sexual harassment and how to prevent sexual harassment in the congressional workplace."

Genevieve Glatsky contributed to this report.

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This article tagged under:

·        Senate Judiciary Committee

·        Paul Ryan

·        Chuck Grassley

·        Senate

·        House Administration Committee

·        Senate Rules Committee

·        Jackie Speier

 

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