The Importance of Organization-Wide Sexual Harassment Training

Category: Harassment
Posted: 11-12-2011 11:02 PM
Views: 1177
Synopsis:

Sexual Harassment. Everyone seems to know what it is and yet the stories in the media of its occurrence seem to be unending. The latest high profile alleged perpetrator is Herman Cain, but Mr. Cain is in a long line of men and women who have had their careers jeopardized by sexual harassment charges. So why does it still occur if most people are educated on it. There are many reasons, but the most prevalent are a sense of invincibility due to power, the belief that by the perpetrator that he or she is different than others and simple ignorance. The effect of all three of these reasons can be mitigated by organization-wide sexual harassment training.

Sexual Harassment. Everyone seems to know what it is and yet the stories in the media of its occurrence seem to be unending. The latest high profile alleged perpetrator is Herman Cain, but Mr. Cain is in a long line of men and women who have had their careers jeopardized by sexual harassment charges. So why does it still occur if most people are educated on it. There are many reasons, but the most prevalent are a sense of invincibility due to power, the belief that by the perpetrator that he or she is different than others and simple ignorance. The effect of all three of these reasons can be mitigated by organization-wide sexual harassment training.

Many perpetrators act with a sense of entitlement due to power. These have achieved a considerable amount of power within an organization and this power gives them the feeling that they can get away with whatever they wish. Sexual harassment is a form of bullying to them. In their mind, comments or inappropriate touching are something they are allowed and the victims will just going to have to endure it due to their subordinate position in the organization. Many of these perpetrators have a natural bullying tendencies enhanced by their power role in the company. Sexual harassment training should focus on the considerable negative consequences they would face in a sexual harassment complaint. Using high profile figures who have suffered as a result of a complaint will help make your point.

Many perpetrators just don't see themselves as harassers despite their harassing behavior. They have a high opinion of themselves and see their sexual based behaviors as irresistible by the opposite sex and therefore not unwanted. They can't see themselves in other people's eyes. When these employees are confronted with a complaint there general reaction is one of shock. They usually will comment that they thought the feeling was mutual and that they had no idea their behavior was causing a problem. Sexual harassment prevention training need to focus on the fact that all sexually based behaviors are inappropriate at work. This is the only true way to insure that behavior does not meet the threshold of harassment.

The last reason is simple ignorance. Believe it or not there are still employees that don't understand harassment and therefore commit harassing behaviors out of ignorance. In many cases, their social lives are full of sexually based jokes and behaviors. We live in a sexually charged world and that is tough to turn off at work. In other cases, the employee may not understand that subtle behaviors and comments that seem innocuous to the perpetrator may actually constitute harassment. In the courts eyes, its the viewpoint of the victim that is considered, not the perpetrator. Harassment training should focus on all types of behaviors and examples to insure that all employees understand subtle sexual harassment.

Despite all of the focus from the media and endless training by organizations, sexual harassment still occurs. Every organization needs consistent, comprehensive training to protect themselves and their workforce. Focusing on the reasons that employees perpetrate harassment is imperative in this training.

Charlie Bentson King is a writer and producer of training videos for TrainingABC. TrainingABC is the most comprehensive source of sexual harassment video and sexual harassment DVD programs on the market.

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