Guest blog post submitted by Norris McLaughlin & Marcus, PA
Over the last veral months, hardly a day has gone by where workplace harassment has not been in the news. High-profile harassment scandals involving individuals in the entertainment and political arenas have led to more and more employees coming forward to share their stories. The number of harassment claims reported to the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has risen sharply; we do not expect this trend to change any time soon.
Given recent developments, many employers have contacted us to see what steps are needed to ensure a harassment-free workplace and protect against potential liability. The answer is simple: educating and training employees. According to a recent EEOC task force report, an employer seeking to defend against a workplace harassment claim will need to show that it regularly trained its employees on this issue. The EEOC report emphasizes that effective training is live and interactive (rather than video or Internet-based) and tailored to the realities of the workplace. It further emphasizes the need to train supervisors, who are in the best position to address unacceptable conduct before it becomes unlawful harassment. As we discussed at our “Harassment in the Workplace” seminar last week, training supervisors is also important for the employer to avoid strict liability and for the supervisor to avoid personal liability.
In light of increased demand from employers in the Lehigh Valley and beyond, we will be offering a special training event for supervisors. On March 21, 2018, we will be conducting two, half-day sessions of supervisor harassment training at the Best Western Lehigh Valley Hotel & Conference Center in Bethlehem. We are offering these sessions as an alternative to the on-site training we are hired to do for many employers. Like all of our trainings, these sessions will be classroom-style presentations with significant attendee interaction through questions, working through hypothetical situations, and role playing. These sessions will be particularly useful for a variety of employers: those with a small workforce, those with newly-hired or newly-promoted supervisors, and those whose Human Resources or management professionals want to see what is covered in our interactive training sessions.
It is critical now more than ever for employers to engage and educate their supervisors so that they understand their critical role in preventing, combating, and eliminating harassment. It is our goal to do just that in our supervisor harassment training. We encourage you to register your supervisors for one of the training sessions on March 21, and we look forward to seeing you there. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions about this or other labor and employment training session.