With all the coverage in the media about sexual harassment, it’s easy to think you know everything there is to know. Unfortunately, though, many of the big stories about harassment leave out a lot of details that are important to sexual harassment training in the workplace. Sometimes, this lack of information can lead to the perpetuation of myths about sexual harassment. Take a look at these common misconceptions, and make sure you clarify these topics with your managers and employees.
“Sexual harassment could never happen in my store.”
While your news feed may be flooded with stories about sexual harassment in high-profile industries, the truth is that it can happen anywhere. Statistically, there are more sexual harassment cases reported in male dominated industries, and most cases are brought by women. It’s important to note, however, that anyone can be a victim of sexual harassment. Just as sexual harassment is not limited to specific industries, it’s also not limited to specific people. There are many variations of harassment, including a man sexually harassing another man, a female manager requesting sexual favors from a female or male employee, or a customer making fun of a transgender employee, just to name a few.
“I’ve never had anyone complain about harassment, so it must not be happening.”
This is one of the most dangerous myths about sexual harassment, and one where sexual harassment training can be very effective. A victim of harassment does not have to complain or file a report in order for behavior to create a hostile work environment. Sexual harassment affects your entire team. Train everyone to report behavior they feel is harassing, even if it’s not happening to them. Make sure everyone knows what they need to do to report sexual harassment and that there will never be retaliation for any reports made in good faith.
“Sexual harassment is not that big of a deal.”
While the media attention on harassment has raised awareness, it has also created the feeling in some people that it’s just being blown out of proportion. This is a dangerous line of thinking. For the business – and for the people affected by harassing behavior – harassment is a very big deal. Managers can be held personally responsible for harassment that occurs under their watch, with the average judgement against them at around $50,000. Companies are often on the hook for much more than that. Even when legal judgments don’t go that far, accused harassers and businesses almost always lose in the court of public opinion.
“I’m careful about who I hire to ensure sexual harassment won’t happen here.”
It’s true that you must do your due diligence to safeguard your company against bad behavior among your team, but interactions between employees are not the only times harassment occurs. Employees may also be targets of harassment from customers, vendors, or higher-level managers. Sexual harassment training must cover not just how to recognize harassment, but how to report it. Your employees must know you value them and their safety above all else.
Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Online
To make sure your managers and employees aren’t operating with false information about sexual harassment training, use online training to get everyone on the same page. Click here for more information.