Harassment Training in Business?

Harassment Training and Business

In the business world, we have a lot to learn about and juggle at once.  Trying to manage every issue that comes up, and educating ourselves on all the different legislation and regulations in place can feel overwhelming.  It’s only understandable that sometimes we fall behind.

Unfortunately, there are certain things we really need to keep up with.  One such topic is that of harassment in the work place.  Training options are available, of course – and it’s incredibly important to utilize our resources and learn about what might count as harassment and how to prevent it.

Types of Harassment

Sadly, there are many different things that fall under the umbrella definition of harassment.  For more information on what “harassment” is in the first place, you can look here.  However, I’ll try to get more in depth about the different kinds.

Harassment Training and Business2

Sexual Harassment

I begin with one of the most serious, if not the most severe type.  It is when one worker makes suggestive comments, solicits for sexual favors, or demands them in return for a promotion – something worse than this might qualify as sexual assault.  All of these things are incredibly inappropriate and harmful in a place of work.

While we typically think of victims as being female, males can suffer from sexual harassment as well.  It is critical that employees feel safe going to the Human Resources department or supervisors and management.  If they don’t feel safe reporting, something is clearly wrong.

Psychological Harassment

This is roughly what it sounds like on the tin.  Behavior might be considered within this category if it falls under a few conditions. To some extent these are subjective, but it is still important to keep in mind.

If the behavior is unwanted from the recipient, it might be considered harassment.  Particularly if it is both bothersome and repeated.  If it is disrupting someone’s work and causing problems, it may be time for a report to be filed.  Of course, negatively impacting the receiver’s emotional well-being is another sign it might fall in this type.

Discriminatory Harassment

This is another of the most significant forms of harassment in a work place.  If you’re looking for training, you might want to read here – after all, incidents of discrimination can be quite serious and lead to a poor business reputation.  There are several acts that fall under this category.

I will focus on micro aggressions.  It’s important to remember that people are not being sensitive for feeling offended by these acts.  They are not just insults, or rude behavior.  Rather, they are specific and targeted acts based upon someone’s inherent ethnic traits or other stereotypes.

Some examples of this behavior are complimenting someone’s “excellent English” if it is their first language purely because of their race, or nervously clutching your wallet if an African American person enters an elevator with you.  It is watching someone with a different skin tone than your own more closely if you are shopping.

These acts aren’t overtly racist, but they are no less harmful.  Teaching employees not to do these things, and how to be more sensitive with the language they use will hopefully help.  After all, the goal is to create a safe and inclusive environment where everyone feels welcome and comfortable.

Third Party Harassment

This is one that not many of us think about.  I know I had never considered it until studying this topic.  It is when the behavior is carried out on an employee by someone who does not work at the location of business.  This could be, but is not limited to, customers, independent contractors, delivery drivers, vendors, friends of other employees, or even family members of other employees.

For some of the regulations about this type, you can look at this website:  However, I find that prevention is usually the right course of action rather than response to incidents that have already happened.

I don’t mean that we should not respond to reports.  Rather, I think that teaching policies and educating workers about consequences and what qualifies in these categories is a better business practice than only worrying about it when a case comes up.  Stopping them before they happen can prevent things from spiraling out of control.

Why Training?

Well, there are quite a few reasons.  Informing the people working for us about all the different categories of harassment at work might encourage them to adjust their behavior.  Sometimes, we think we are being playful when we are in fact being hurtful, for example.

It helps everyone feel more comfortable at work.  Opening the conversation is just the start of improving morale and bettering a business environment.  Most likely, your work force will find that they are more productive when they feel better collaborating with their co workers.  Really – I can’t see a negative!

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