Louisiana Sexual Harassment Training: 6 Points To Improve The Effectiveness

Louisiana Sexual Harassment Training: 6 Points To Improve The Effectiveness

The Facts

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Louisiana sexual harassment training regulations, Louisiana HB524, mandate that all public workers and elected officials attend at least one hour of sexual harassment prevention education and training. Further sexual harassment training is required for supervisors and managers. However, there is no explicit legislative need for sexual harassment training for non-government employees in Louisiana.

The law mandates each agency head to submit an annual report that includes data such as the number of workers who have completed sexual harassment courses, the number of sexual harassment complaints filed, and the number of complaints that ended in disciplinary action.

While there is no explicit requirement for sexual harassment training in Louisiana, EEOC guidelines and court cases from throughout the country have made it obvious that companies should regularly give workplace harassment training to all workers. Sexual harassment and other types of unlawful harassment connected to state and federal protected characteristics should be covered in the training program.

What is Sexual Harassment?

Harassment of an individual (a prospect or employee) because of their sex is illegal. Unwanted sexual approaches, solicitations for sexual favors, and other forms of sexual harassment are all examples of the same.

Harassment is not always sexual, and it may also involve inappropriate comments about a person's sex. It is prohibited, for example, to harass a lady by making derogatory remarks about women in particular. Both the victim and the harasser might be female or male, and both the victim and the harasser can be of the same gender.

Although simple joking, offhand comments, or isolated incidences that are not particularly serious are not unlawful, harassment is criminal when it is so prevalent and severe that it creates a dangerous or offensive work environment or concludes in a negative employment judgment such as the victim being fired or demoted.

The harasser might be the victim's boss, a boss in another department, a coworker, or someone who isn't an employee of the company, such as a client or customer.

Age (40+), color, creed, handicap, genetic information (including Sickle Cell trait), nationality, race, religion, and sex are protected under Louisiana law, including pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, and related conditions.

What is EEOC?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency in charge of defining and enforcing sexual harassment and discrimination statutes. Sexual harassment and other types of workplace discrimination, according to the EEOC, violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Why Is Louisiana Sexual Harassment Training Needed?

An ex-government worker who was sexually assaulted by the previous Secretary of State received a $167,000 settlement from the state of Louisiana in 2018. According to the allegations, the harasser utilized government tools to track down the employee and a man she was dating. Even though the accused resigned from the Louisiana Legislature in May 2018, the state was deemed accountable for damages.

In 2018, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) determined that 34.5 percent of 1,273 workplace discrimination accusations in Louisiana were connected to sexual harassment. These 439 incidents accounted for 1.8 percent of all sexual harassment complaints submitted in the United States in 2018. The state of Louisiana has paid out over 1.3 million dollars in settlements for sexual harassment lawsuits since 2009. This example highlights the need for greater training for state employees, and it is one of the factors that led to the passage of new regulations requiring public employees to undergo sexual harassment training.

The EEOC suggests that employers should take a variety of actions to limit their risk of being held liable for sexual harassment allegations. These actions are:

  • Putting in place a comprehensive and well-understood sexual harassment policy.
  • Providing a comprehensive sexual harassment training program for employees and managers.
  • Creating a successful complaint and grievance procedure in which workers are not afraid of reprisal.
  • Any complaint or grievance should be investigated as soon as possible by the employer.
  • To stop harassment, the employer should take quick action, such as disciplinary action.
  • Employees should be encouraged to address harassers directly and advise them that their behavior is unacceptable, as well as report management and HR.

How to Improve the Effectiveness of Sexual Harassment Training in Louisiana?

1. Create content that is specific to the industry

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) task force on workplace harassment, one of the core principles that has proven useful in preventing and addressing harassment is regular, relevant training that is personalized to the company and its staff and focuses on altering behavior.

Online compliance training may engage workers with realistic video situations, visuals, and examples that are pertinent to their job experience using a range of e-Learning and video methods. Incorporating a video message from the CEO helps emphasize the importance of attending training and the organization's standards for behavior.

2. Provide 24/7 access to mobile-optimized training

With employees' schedules becoming more unpredictable, mobile-optimized training allows them to access and finish courses from any device. Human resource (HR) managers may also use mobile technology to assign new courses, track employee progress, and send out notifications, updates, and bite-size films on topical subjects throughout the year.

3. Raise awareness of harassment in its many forms

Sexual harassment extends beyond unwelcome physical contact, whether it occurs at work, on the job, at a trade event, online, or on social media. Unwelcome sexual approaches, demands for sexual favors, and other sexual activity that explicitly or implicitly interferes with an individual's job, create a hostile work environment. 

Harassment may also entail making derogatory comments about a person's sex, including about women in particular. Clients, inspectors, contractors, and suppliers, for example, can be harassers or harassed by people of any gender.

4. Demonstrate how to intervene as a bystander

As a method of preventing sexual assault, bystander intervention learning has its origins in the army and on college campuses. Bystander intervention is now considered one of the most effective strategies to curb wrongdoing before it escalates to the point of illegal harassment and discrimination, according to workplace experts.

Educating employees on how to properly intervene and speak out during or after harassment events may help defuse potentially dangerous circumstances and avoid repeat occurrences. Another advantage of being an active bystander is that coworkers may serve as allies for harassed employees and offer their support and empathy.

5. Encourage inclusion, diversity, and equity

Employee and management training on how to create a more diverse and inclusive workplace can assist in avoiding harassment and discrimination, improve awareness of unconscious bias and microaggressions, and develop civility and respect in the workplace. Diversity and inclusion encompass a wide range of origins, experiences, sexual orientations, and beliefs in addition to gender and ethnicity.

6. Encourage the submission of reports

Implementing and disseminating protocols for reporting instances, as well as ensuring workers that their complaints will be treated seriously and that they will not be retaliated against, is a crucial aspect of preventing sexual harassment. Managers who may be dealing with harassment accusations should benefit from further training on how to respond quickly to complaints, investigate them, and avoid retaliatory action.

In a Nutshell

A contemporary, engaging training program, with the assistance of company managers and owners who lead by example, is a crucial step in avoiding harassment and other misbehavior and fostering a courteous workplace culture whereby all employees feel welcome. Employers can employ professionals such as GetImpactly to provide Louisiana sexual harassment training services.

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