Active Jan. 1 at the state of Illinois, the Workplace Transparency Act mandates workplace sexual harassment training for private and public organizations with more than 15 workers.
Illinois is the sixth country in the past couple of years to create and pass a bill that would call for workplace sexual harassment training. New York City, in addition to Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, California, and New York, have passed legislation outlining training conditions.
In this #MeToo movement’s now two-year wake, these state laws make up a part of their redirection of talks surrounding workplace culture and safety.
Jay Zweig, a Phoenix-based employment law attorney for Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, said the study that has come out around the #MeToo movement — that shows the high percentage of girls across many professions that have mentioned they have been subjected to sexual harassment at the workplace but never reported it has been an eye-opener for companies.
“I think that companies have recognized that what they have done previously hasn’t been as successful as it could be,” Zweig said. “Starting with their policies, those needed to be updated. Moreover, the training required to be more meaningful and relatable.”
Refreshing the Content
As states are mandating workplace harassment training, some associations, such as New York City-based Citigroup, that must stay compliant with the state and town legislation, required the moment to look at instruction and their policies.
Citi hosted two different training programs for its workers, said the head of Citi employee relations, Allegra Digia. In her role, Digia oversees Citi’s sexual harassment policy for North America and has been involved in developing a new training program over the previous year that fulfilling new state law requirements.
If they developed the program, the learning and development group decided to outsource, said Citi Chief Learning Officer Cameron Hedrick. In doing so, he said they realized having a spouse would help keep up with the speed of change and navigating the differences across the states’ harassment training legislation.
All Citi workers will be asked to take it every year.
Digia added that they wanted the item to be user-friendly more relevant and enjoyable from a learning perspective. Along with making the app compliant with country requirements. The result was a program that she said is appropriate to the workplace environment and the numerous functions held by workers of Citi.
We felt it was time for a refresh and those people who’ve been around awhile have seen after year, Hedrick said. The new instruction strengthens and is more relevant for today the commitment of Citi to a work environment that embraces diversity and inclusion, he further added.
Refreshing the Model
Citi isn’t alone in its decision to execute video-based harassment training that it would be interactive. More organizations have started to utilize videos are part of obedience training.
In 2016, in response to the demand, compliance training firm Traliant, which uses a format very similar to Netflix or different support that was streaming, was established by Andrew Rawson. Rawson, who is the company’s chief learning officer, said they chose this arrangement for Traliant, whose title is a contraction of the words “training” and “compliant,” since they felt shorter videos worked better over the modern worker’s day, where they could confront many interruptions.
“The training that’s limited to individuals sitting around in a conference room and listening to a lecture needs to be augmented with something more engaging and much more interactive,” said Zweig, that offers sexual harassment prevention training pro-bono for nonprofit groups that can’t afford instruction of their own.
Another part of the new strategy to sexual harassment prevention that several companies are carrying is the addition of bystander intervention training, which is required under the new York law but not by some other states.
“It’s probably the most powerful part of the training in terms of actually protecting one another from the workplace from being subjected to discrimination or sexual misconduct,” Rawson said. “And the reason is that while we might not have the capacity to influence the men and women who are the actors in the workplace, we can encourage people that witness misconduct to talk.”
Traliant’s training module includes bystander intervention. At Citi, all workers will also be required to undergo bystander intervention training as part of their new program. Digia said she thinks it’s an essential aspect of the upgrade in state legislation that she expects will spread through the remaining states.
The Road Ahead
Now that it’s mandatory, Illinois companies will have to provide instruction. California chose to expand its deadline from Jan. 1, 2020, to Jan. 1, 2021, to guarantee state companies comply with its new law. The Senate passed a bill at Rhode Island doing sexual harassment prevention training required but currently remains pending.
It’s unclear whether more nations pass instruction legislation of their own and will follow suit, but there is a discernible shift in the manner in which. He said the consensus was that harassment did not stop when Rawson would do interviews on behalf of Traliant a couple of years back.
“The reputational damage is so severe in most states that passed a training requirement, we’ve got people lining up to take the training in January since they don’t even want to wait,” he said.
The world isn’t currently moving in 2020 away from #MeToo. R. Kelly will stand trial in April for his abuse and attack women and children lasting close to two years throughout his entertainment career. Sexual harassment, workplace culture, and the movement have been addressed by many 2020 presidential candidates resulting in the fall’s election.
Looking forward, Rawson reported that studying leaders and CLOs have an essential part to play in workplace culture by placing their serious tone.