As a human resources professional, you know sexual harassment in the workplace is serious. And if your company doesn't handle sexual harassment well, it could cost a lot of money.
According to the Seattle Times, "Seattle agreed to pay $450,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by a former City Light employee who spoke out against sexual harassment in her office and who helped create a group called the Seattle Silence Breakers to push for reforms."
As you can see, the financial implications of a sexual harassment lawsuit are huge. The Seattle Times example shows the importance of sexual harassment training and policies.
Maybe money isn't a motivating factor for the decision-makers in your organization. And if that's the case, check out the following reasons to convince them:
1. New York's Sexual Harassment Laws Are Changing
New York State has a new law that obligates employers to conduct sexual harassment training yearly.
Every employer must provide the training no matter how big or small the workforce.
Employees and supervisors must be trained on sexual harassment in the workforce yearly.
New training is interactive and web-based. It can also be completed in person. In addition, instruction must include descriptions of sexual harassment as well as information on laws.
You can learn more about the training requirements on the New York State Website.
2. Protecting Your Company's Reputation
If your company faces a sexual harassment suit, the media may also draw negative attention to your company.
If there is media coverage, your company will look bad to the public. But conducting the mandated training ensures that you've done your due diligence.
Here are a few ways bad media will cause your company problems:
Consumers will have a bad image of your company if you have a lawsuit on your hands and they'll stop making purchases
Business partners will cut ties to protect their own reputation
Potential employees won't feel safe in a work environment that has already experienced sexual harassment issues and your recruiting efforts will become more difficult
Preventing sexual harassment in the workplace with training will help build authority and trust with the public. And if a suit does occur, you can rest assured knowing that you've taken the appropriate steps to prevent sexual harassment.
3. Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Negatively Affects Employee Morale
Unfortunately, a sexual harassment incident affects both the victim and fellow employees. And morale drops due to stress and fear surrounding the incident. These are all things that lead to strikes and loss of workforce.
Human resources has a duty to comply with updated laws and it's up to you to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace by providing training.
4. Preventing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
With the new NYC and state law deadlines fast-approaching, now is the time to start implementing training guidelines and procedures.
Since training is required yearly, it's time to focus on the prevention of sexual harassment rather than reacting to it once it has occurred.
Taking prevention seriously can save your company money and the pain and agony of having to navigate a difficult sexual harassment lawsuit.
By implementing the new training, you're protecting your workforce from sexual harassment.
As an HR professional, you're a leader and your fellow employees look up to you for support and guidance. Plus, obeying the new laws gives employees a reason to take sexual harassment seriously.
5. Navigating a Lawsuit is Complicated
It's true, no one likes more work. Unfortunately, sexual harassment cases make HR professionals even busier. Navigating legal advice, laws, and settlements is difficult, stressful, and time-consuming.
The good news is, you don't have to swim through the new information alone; we're here to help.
And in preparation for the October 9th, 2019 deadline for new sexual harassment in the workplace training laws, reevaluate your resources and reach out to us with your questions.