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Why Is Harassment Training Different Than DEI Training?

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have become buzzwords you hear about in the workplace today. With organizations increasingly recognizing the value of creating an equitable and inclusive culture for their employees, DEI training has become more critical than ever. But what is it exactly? And how does it differ from harassment training?

While both types of training are essential to creating a safe work environment, critical differences between these two topics make them stand apart while working together. In this post, we’ll be taking a closer look at why harassment training and DEI training aren’t one and the same—and why they must go hand-in-hand when discussing your company's policies regarding safety in the workplace.

What is Harassment in a Workplace Setting?

Harassment in a workplace can occur when an employee experiences unwelcome or offensive behavior from another individual in the organization. It's a behavior that can range from physical actions like touching to verbal insults or sexual comments. Sometimes, it can also be pervasive, creating an intimidating and hostile work environment.

For an incident to be considered harassment, the unwanted behavior must be based on an individual’s protected characteristics. It can be about a person's race, gender, and age. it can also be sexual orientation or religious belief. It is illegal for someone to harass another individual based on any of these characteristics.

For instance, if a coworker makes repeated sexual comments to an employee, this is considered harassment. If the employee is a member of the LGBTQ+ community and co-workers are making derogatory comments about their sexuality, that also qualifies as workplace harassment.

It is essential for employers and employees alike to be aware of what constitutes harassment to create a safe and inclusive work environment. Employers should take proactive steps to prevent workplace harassment, such as implementing anti-harassment policies and providing training on the subject. It is also essential to have clear procedures in place for employees to report any incidents of harassment they experience.

Harassment can have serious consequences, both legally and professionally. The victim may suffer psychological trauma, economic hardship, and physical harm as a result of the offending behavior. Moreover, employers can face legal and financial repercussions if they are found to be liable for not adequately handling or preventing such occurrences.

Centers on Legal Compliance

When it comes to workplace harassment, legal compliance is of utmost importance. Employers should be aware of the laws in their jurisdiction and ensure that they are being compliant with them. In addition to federal law, states often have additional requirements and prohibitions regarding workplace harassment. It is also vital for employers to stay up-to-date on any changes that may occur in the law.

Employers should also have policies and procedures in place that address workplace harassment. These policies aim to inform employees about what constitutes harassment and how to report it. Employers should also provide training for their employees on workplace harassment to be aware of the legal requirements and know what steps to take if they experience or witness harassment.

When a complaint of workplace harassment is made, employers should take it seriously and investigate the issue promptly. The investigation should also follow established procedures and be conducted by applicable legal requirements. If the investigations showed violations, appropriate action should be taken to rectify the situation and ensure that similar incidents do not occur.

Finally, employers should provide a safe and secure environment for their employees to work in. This means not only providing a physical space that is free from harassment but also ensuring psychological safety by fostering an atmosphere where all employees feel respected, valued, and included. If employers take these steps, they can help prevent workplace harassment while staying in compliance with the law.

By understanding the legal requirements and having policies and procedures in place, employers can ensure that their workplaces are free from harassment. This not only protects employees but also helps employers avoid any potential legal issues. Following these guidelines can help make sure everyone is safe and respected at work.