U.S. Supreme Court decisions, state laws, and EEOC Guidelines have made clear that employers must provide periodic training to each employee on preventing sexual harassment and other forms of workplace harassment. Clear Law’s online course, Workplace Harassment Prevention, provides legally accurate and engaging instruction on this important topic.
Before choosing an online harassment course, an employer should ask a series of questions to ensure that the training meets all legal requirements and will effectively educate its particular workforce. To view a list of these questions, click on each tab above.
Why should you provide your employees harassment training? There are three primary reasons:
1. Law requires training.
Some states, such as California, Connecticut, and Maine make harassment training mandatory under state laws. In all states, U.S. Supreme Court decisions and EEOC regulations have made it essential that all employers provide their employees harassment prevention training periodically. See, e.g. Faragher v. City of Boca Raton (U.S. Supreme Court); EEOC Guidance on Vicarious Liability for Supervisory Harassment.
Employers who fail to provide harassment training periodically may:
- Violate state laws that specifically require training
- Forfeit the ability to raise an affirmative defense in a harassment lawsuit
- Expose itself to punitive damages in employee lawsuits
- Fail to follow EEOC guidelines
In contrast, studies have shown that employers who periodically provide harassment prevention training save money by reducing the number of harassment claims and the costs of investigating, litigating, and paying verdicts and settlements to resolve those claims.
2. Reduce costs. Effective training will save money by reducing the number of complaints that employees file, thereby reducing the costs of investigating, litigating, and resolving those complaints.
3. Teach employees how to comply with the law. To comply with the law and understand the nuances of what is, and what is not, workplace harassment, you must provide employees accurate, up-to-date, and practical information so that they can learn their responsibilities for preventing and reporting harassment.
Clear Law provides online training, in-person training, and a blended approach of both delivery methods for its clients around the world. That said, Clear Law’s online training offers employers several advantages over in-person training, including:
Convenience. As Clear Law’s courses are available 24/7/365, each employee can take Clear Law’s courses at the time most convenient for him or her.
Interactivity. Clear Law’s courses are very interactive and engage employees in the learning process. Because employees take the courses individually, each employee must actively participate in the learning process.
No-Fail Assessments. Clear Law’s online courses require each employee to master course content before completing a course. In this way, no employee can create a potential legal liability by failing a course.
Administrative ease. Clear Law’s online courses greatly reduce the costs and logistical difficulties of scheduling in-person training for new employees and for employees who work in different locations and on different shifts.
Electronic recording of completion. Clear Law’s courses electronically record who has completed the course, eliminating paperwork and allowing you to easily ensure 100% participation in the course.
Cost. Clear Law’s online courses allow you to train employees at a lower cost than in-person training.
Training providers must be experts in harassment law
State laws and court decisions from around the country require employers to ensure that their training is developed and delivered by experts in harassment, discrimination, and retaliation law. For example, California’s mandatory sexual harassment training law (AB 1825) specifically requires that the training — be it instructor-led training or online training — be provided by trainers with “expertise in the prevention of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation.” The trainer must be either an attorney, professor, instructor, human resource professional or harassment prevention consultant with at least two years of expertise in employment law or harassment prevention.
Clear Law’s legal expertise ensures accurate courses
Clear Law’s online Workplace Harassment Prevention course is written and kept up-to-date with changes in the law by Clear Law’s team of experts, which includes its CEO, Michael Johnson. Mr. Johnson is one of the leading experts in harassment law in the country. A former U.S. Department of Justice attorney, Mr. Johnson brought one of DOJ’s first class-action style harassment lawsuits against an employer in the 1990′s. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has hired him to train some of its investigators on how to investigate harassment complaints. The United Nations hired Mr. Johnson to consult on its harassment policies and train its investigators in New York, the Congo, and Sierra Leone. He is a graduate of Duke University and Harvard Law School.
Because of Clear Law’s legal expertise, you can rest assured that your training will be accurate and up-to-date. Clear Law’s commitment to accuracy is what distinguishes Clear Law from many companies that seek to provide training on harassment topics. Many companies provide training on a variety of topics and see training on harassment as simply another market to enter. They may hire an attorney, compliance officer, or human resource professional to review the content of their training before it is produced, but the company may have no particular expertise in harassment or any experience dealing with real-life claims and lawsuits. As a result, their training often portrays unrealistic scenarios. Also, even if these companies produce legally accurate courses, they may not stay up-to-date with the continual changes in the law. Therefore, they run the risk of providing out-dated and inaccurate training.
Course addresses all forms or workplace harassment
Clear Law’s Workplace Harassment Prevention course addresses not only sexual harassment but all forms of unlawful workplace harassment. State laws, federal court decisions, and EEOC Guidelines have made clear that harassment training should cover all forms of harassment. Training that covers only sexual harassment may not be used as a defense in employee lawsuits alleging retaliation or harassment based on other legally protected characteristics. See, Reed v. Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, (sexual harassment training no defense to punitive damages on retaliation claim); Williams v. Multnomah Education Service District (sexual harassment prevention efforts no defense in racial harassment case).
Clear Law’s course addresses workplace harassment scenarios related to sex, race, color, national origin, religion, age, disability status, genetic information, sexual orientation and all other characteristics protected by federal, state, and local laws and by organization policies.
Instead of preaching to employees that they should not harass each other, Clear Law’s course take a more intellectual approach and focuses on the “gray areas” that employees may face in real life. In this way, employees feel like they actually were challenged and they learned something in the course.
Supervisors’ Additional Instruction
Supervisors receive instruction on their special responsibilities for preventing and responding to workplace harassment. The course content is customized depending on the locations of your employees. For example, we provide supervisors in California and Connecticut 2-hour courses as required under state law.
California and Connecticut Supervisors’ versions
California and Connecticut law requires harassment training provided to supervisors be a minimum of two hours in length and cover certain topics, including topics that are specific to California and Connecticut law. Clear Law provides course versions that are compliant with these laws.
Customized to your organization
Clear Law customizes the course to reflect your organization’s work environment, harassment policies, and reporting mechanisms.
The training is highly interactive and is structured around a series of scenarios, many of which are based on actual cases. We continually monitor harassment cases to ensure that the training is legally accurate and up-to-date. While the training deals with legal issues, it’s never legalistic. And, instead of providing a simplistic list of “do’s” and “don’ts,” we teach essential principles and challenge trainees to apply those principles to ambiguous, “gray-area” situations.
Clear Law combines its nationally-known legal expertise with critically-acclaimed instructional design to deliver to employees accurate, practical and engaging harassment training. In evaluating the quality of training, you should consider the following questions:
Are your courses practical and not legalistic?
Harassment courses should be legally accurate but never legalistic. Your employees don’t care about the history and theory of the law. Instead, they crave the practical information that they need to comply with the law. As a result, Clear Law rarely cites cases or statutes in its training. Instead, Clear Law
- Distills the statutes, cases, and regulations into clear behavioral principles
- Teaches employees those behavioral principles, and
- Asks employees to apply those principles to the nuances of real-life scenarios that they may encounter in the workplace.
Do your courses teach employees obvious principles that they already know?
Instead of providing a simplistic list of “do’s” and “don’ts”, harassment courses should focus on exploring the nuances of the “gray area” situations. By focusing on the gray areas, employees find the training intellectually interesting and they leave the course with knowledge that they did not have before. Thus, they feel like they gained valuable information rather than simply listened to a lecture.
Are your courses interactive?
Training Media Review evaluated an online harassment course created by Clear Law’s CEO and the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) published a portion of this review in its T & D Magazine. The review began:
Finally, an exciting e-learning experience!
Online harassment courses should be highly interactive and include numerous engaging exercises that help employees explore the nuances of the law. Clear Law’s harassment course is structured around scenarios that depict complicated work scenarios. Key issues raised by the scenarios are discussed and guidance is given on behaviors that are potentially problematic. Interactive exercises then allow learners to apply what they have just learned.
To view a demo of the course, please call 703-312-9440 or contact us.