Sexual Harassment Prevention Training: No Substitute for a Tough Conversation

Well, I finally bit the bullet and decided to join the blogging world.  I want to start with some advice based on what I’ve learned during the almost twenty years (since 1991, to be exact) I’ve learned conducting sexual harassment prevention training.

Lesson 1:  DONT use sexual harassment prevention training as a way to get a message across to one employee. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve gotten a call from a HR professional wanting to hire me to conduct harassment/discrimination prevention training.  When I ask what got the training ball rolling (and believe me, I’ve learned the hard way to ask that question), it turns out there’s this one manager or employee who just doesn’t “get it.”

Look, I know no one wants to have the thankless job of having to sit down with a grown adult and counsel him or her on his cluelessness.  But putting everyone through a sexual harassment prevention training course in the hope that the problem employee or manager will somehow see the light is like whistling in the dark.  Not only is s/he unlikely to get the message, the other employees will be well aware (and resentful) of why they are sitting in the workshop instead of focusing on work.   There is no substitute to having a one-on-one conversation with a behaviorally challenged employee and telling him or her the truth.  There’s no guarantee it will work, but it’s your best shot.

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