Why Does Your Business Need Anti-Harassment Training?

Dec 22, 2021

Do your managers know their legal obligations when an employee shares a concern or lodges a complaint? Do they know what to do next and how to compliantly document it? Employers are obligated to make sure the workplace is safe and free from all forms of harassment. This is why anti-harassment training has become essential to empowering managers and employees alike to be able to create a safe, respectful workplace.

It’s important to realize that this training could also be required by your state. Even if it’s not mandated, this training is a great way to build confidence with managers to properly manage workplace complaints. It’s the key to a culture of respect and to mitigating hefty legal risk to your company.


A Long History of Workplace Harassment

Workplace harassment issues have been a major issue for a long time, unfortunately. The national spotlight on this topic has brought on a big wave of state legislation. It’s also caused many companies to take another look at their training, policies, and practices.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Acting Chair, Victoria Lipnic, states that workplace harassment “is a persistent issue and a pervasive one. It crosses industries. It crosses income levels. It crosses occupations.” While this is a complex issue, the key is being proactive. What we mean, is that you shouldn’t be waiting for something to happen before you implement anti-harassment best practices.

The best way to be proactive here is through anti-harassment training and policies across your entire organization. No employer is immune here. You want to be actively creating safe spaces for your employees for them to do the best work possible.


Differing State Anti-Harassment Training Requirements

When considering how to approach your anti-harassment training, it’s important to check what your state’s legislature says regarding this. Some states mandate certain types of training, while others have no legal requirements. Many states without “legal” training requirements do strongly recommend still participating in some type of anti-harassment training.

Click on any of the links below to see what the requirements are in your state:


We understand that, with differing requirements in each state, it can be hard to know what your obligation is as an employer. Each state has its caveats. But again, it’s important to remember that complying with the legal training requirements is the bare minimum here. You want to be proactive and holistic in your approach to workplace safety measures.


Training Considerations for Remote Employees

As we’ve moved through the pandemic, we’ve seen the ultimate rise in remote workers. This has cause for concern in two related areas: a rise in online harassment and a lack of harassment prevention.

A survey from TalentLMS and The Purple Campaign found that more than one in four respondents say they have experienced unwelcome sexual behavior online since the start of remote work. In a remote workplace, we’ve seen the line become very blurred about what’s appropriate at work and what’s not. Whether it’s working from bed or sending a kissing face emoji, there’s been a massive decrease in workplace formality. While this isn’t 100% a bad thing, it can lead to a decrease in professionalism and accountability. This is a dangerous combination that could lead to cases of harassment.

We want to remind you that just because your employees aren’t face-to-face with each other every day in the office, doesn’t mean there isn’t inappropriate behavior occurring. The shift to remote work doesn’t relieve you from harassment-prevention responsibility. If anything, it’s become even more important.


Anti-Harassment Training for Multi-State Operations

With the pandemic forcing many companies to work remotely, this allowed employers to look beyond their state to attract talent. While this has been a very positive thing for recruitment, it’s also raised concern about training requirements for these employees.

Remember the list of states and their anti-harassment training requirements? Well, employees who work out of those states are likely to be subject to its training requirements. Here, let us explain:

Say your business is based out of Oregon where there aren’t any specific harassment training requirements. Then you hire an employee who will be working from California. California requires that employees receive sexual harassment and workplace violence training. Those remote employees working out of California for you will need to participate in those trainings to be compliant. In some cases, even people who work directly with or manage those people in another state may need to participate in that state’s training.

This same concept also applies to businesses that operate in multiple states. You’re going to want to check to see what trainings are required in each state you operate in to be 100% compliant.

Therefore, it’s a best practice to just have all employees participate in holistic anti-harassment training. It’ll save you the time and headache to figure out which employees need what training. Not only is this a best practice, but it’s also a good way to ensure there’s consistency in the anti-harassment procedures and policies. Once you’ve trained all current employees, keep up with it by incorporating the training into your new employee onboarding process.

Don’t forget to update your handbook and policies to reflect any changes you make to employee training requirements! Specifically, in Oregon, our OWFA (Oregon Workplace Fairness Act) requires that ALL employers have an anti-harassment policy and that the policy is communicated and distributed to every employee. Be sure your employees know exactly what is expected of them and what you’re doing as an employer to create a safe, respectful workplace.


Where to Find Anti-Harassment Training

Well, it just so happens that HR Annie has its own dedicated training channel where we’ve developed a fantastic respectful workplace training – a values-based training on anti-harassment and discrimination. We use this training to build confidence with managers to properly manage workplace complaints. This is the key to a culture of respect and to mitigating hefty legal risk to your company.

We’re able to deliver this training on-site if you’re near the Portland area, as well as virtually or through our e-learning platform. The virtual training is delivered synchronously, while our e-learning platform allows employees to access it whenever and wherever they need it!

Contact our Head of Training, Becky Free, at becky@hrannieconsulting.com to learn more and to schedule this essential training soon!

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