Harassment Training Is Not Mandated by Federal Law | Law Firm Newswire

Harassment Training Is Not Mandated by Federal Law

Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) December 4, 2015 - The fact that harassment training is not mandated under federal law does not serve as grounds for workplaces to ignore their duty to implement a harassment policy. Doing so may result in potentially severe liabilities.

Sexual harassment is illegal, and any workplace that does not have a sexual harassment/harassment policy in place is asking for trouble if an employee does lodge a complaint. Even though it only makes good sense for a company to have a harassment policy that is clearly stated to their existing workers and new hires, not every workplace has harassment training for managers and workers.

Some companies offer harassment training for managers, largely because of the higher liability attached to a manager being accused of harassment. However, the scope of training needs to include everyone in a company, including new hires, contract employees, managers and the company owner(s).

“Why don’t more companies have sexual harassment training? There are a number of reasons, including, but not limited to: it takes workers away from their jobs, employees complain about it, the company has never been sued and it is expensive. None of those excuses hold water, and ignoring such training may be highly detrimental in terms of being sued in the future,” said respected employment attorney Timothy Coffey. Ideally, harassment training needs to be conducted every two years to keep in step with the latest information available and all applicable laws.

One only has to read the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) news releases to comprehend the enormous consequences of harassment in the workplace, such as employers having to pay out millions for violating discrimination/harassment laws.

Although settlements are frequently hammered out with an employer if the EEOC finds in favor of a plaintiff, not going to court may still result in highly negative publicity for the company in question. Even winning a lawsuit may result in bad press coverage. No one wants to see his or her company name in a headline announcing the settlement of a race discrimination or sexual harassment claim.

“The first question the EEOC has for a company that faces a harassment complaint is: What training has been provided to managers and workers? Followed by: When was the last time the course was delivered and did the complainant(s) attend the training? Things go downhill immediately if the employer says they do not have a policy in place and do not have any form of harassment training, or if the training was so many years ago no one can remember when it was,” said Coffey.

Workers just starting a new job or those that have been employed at the same company for a long period of time should make sure all company policies, including those relating to harassment, are committed to memory. “If you are dealing with sexual harassment/harassment in the workplace, speak to me. I can advise you of your legal rights,” said Coffey.

THE COFFEY LAW OFFICE, P.C.
351 W. Hubbard Street, Suite 602
Chicago, IL 60654
Call: 312.627.9700

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