Pride Month, celebrated in June in many parts of the world, is a time to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and reflect on progress made thus far in terms of workplace equality. However, it is also a time to remember there is still much work to be done regarding the mitigation of workplace harassment.
According to a study by the Human Rights Campaign, 40 percent of LGBTQ+ employees have experienced some form of discrimination or harassment in the workplace. The same study found LGBTQ+ employees who have experienced discrimination or harassment are more likely to report feeling stressed, anxious, and depressed at work.
When LGBTQ+ employees feel safe and respected at work, they are more likely to be engaged, productive, and satisfied with their jobs. This can lead to several benefits for both employees and employers, including increased innovation, improved customer service, and increased brand reputation.
For example, a study by the Williams Institute found that companies with inclusive policies for LGBTQ+ employees are more likely to attract and retain top talent. Additionally, a study by McKinsey found that companies with inclusive cultures are more likely to be innovative and profitable.
The Importance of Training to Address Workplace Harassment and Bullying
Organizational training is a critical means of addressing workplace harassment and bullying. It is especially important that all managers are aware of the impact of harassment, including how microaggressions may negatively impact someone’s workplace performance or how a lack of inclusivity may leave people feeling isolated and withdrawn while on the job, and beyond.
Employee training not only helps employees understand what constitutes harassment and bullying, but also covers how and why to mitigate it and what resources are available for those experiencing adverse situations.
- Increased awareness of LGBTQ+ issues and the challenges that LGBTQ+ individuals face in the workplace
- Better understanding of the different experiences of LGBTQ+ people
- A more inclusive environment
- Reduced discrimination and harassment
Awareness of Varying Sexual Harassment Employer Training Requirements
Sexual harassment training requirements for companies vary across U.S. states and globally. Some states have specific requirements for sexual harassment training, while others do not. Below are just a few examples of how requirements differ:
- California requires all employers with five or more employees to provide sexual harassment training to all employees at least once every two years. The training must be interactive and cover topics such as the definition of sexual harassment, the company’s policy on sexual harassment, and how to report sexual harassment.
- Chicago also has specific requirements for sexual harassment training. All employers with 15 or more employees must provide sexual harassment training to all employees at least once a year. The training must be interactive and cover topics such as the definition of sexual harassment, the company’s policy on sexual harassment, and how to report sexual harassment. Chicago also has bystander sexual harassment training, which is a one-hour course that teaches employees how to intervene safely and effectively in a situation where sexual harassment is occurring or may occur, and how to do so from a place of empowerment.
In addition, here is a brief snapshot of information regarding global requirements:
- In India, The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (PoSH Act) mandates all organizations with 10+ employees have sexual harassment training for all employees at least once a year to explain things like what forms of sexual harassment exist, what to do if you experience sexual harassment, and what role an employer pays in prevention.
- In Canada, although there is no federal law requiring sexual harassment training for employers, many provinces and territories have their own laws that require employers to provide sexual harassment training. For example, in Alberta and Ontario, employers with 30+ employees must provide training to all employees. In British Columbia, this is true for organizations with 25+ employees. And in Manitoba and Prince Edward Island, this is true for organizations with 10+ employees. Although there is no specific law in Quebec for requirements, the Quebec Human Rights Commission has published guidelines for employers on how to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.
Employers must remain aware of what sexual harassment training requirements look like in their state, territory, and region and ensure that sexual harassment policies and trainings are up-to-date and comply with all applicable laws. Click here for SAI360’s interactive U.S. map.
How Does SAI360 Help Companies Support the LGBTQ+ Community Through Employer Training?
SAI360 has a series of customizable Ethics & Compliance (E&C) learning solutions that serve as a valuable resource for organizations wanting to create a more informed and inclusive workplace. These resources can help companies build a strong culture that encourages employees to align their behavior with the values and policies outlined in their company’s code of conduct. They also help employees make more ethical decisions and understand the consequences of their actions if they fail to comply with company policies.
Here are just a few of SAI360’s trainings designed to help educate and equip employees to create a positive workplace environment for all:
- Impartiality to sex and gender bias: Learn when sex and gender biases become sex discrimination
- Sexual harassment and sexual orientation: Explore how to identify and prevent sexual orientation-based harassment and discrimination and how to report known or suspected incidents of sexual orientation-based harassment
- Respecting gender identity and expression: Review laws and company policies tied to working with people of various genders; identify how to employ more gender-inclusive actions in daily workplace practices and know how to best apply company policies and laws when needing to respond to an incident
- Maintaining good mental health when working remotely: Identify warning signs of virtual workers experiencing mental health issues and how to effectively address them
- Managing psychological risks: Identify what psychological health and safety means for your workplace and what kinds of behaviors promote a healthy work culture
- Mitigating on-the-job stress: Learn how to counter workplace stress with simple strategies that can help employees better manage their mental health needs in the workplace
Organizations need to be proactive in developing a workplace culture where all employees feel safe and respected. By taking steps to create a more inclusive workplace, organizations can send a clear message to LGBTQ+ employees that they are valued and respected.