HR Mavericks

Eddy’s HR Mavericks Encyclopedia

Sexual Harassment Training
As an HR leader, one of your key responsibilities is creating a safe, comfortable workplace that does not tolerate harassment of any kind. This article addresses how to train your employees on sexual harrasment and how to prevent it from happening.

What Is Sexual Harassment Training?

Sexual harassment training educates employees on what is considered harassment in the workplace. Most states require some form of sexual harassment training to be given to employees on a yearly basis. It is important to be aware of what your state requires.

Why Is Sexual Harassment Training Important?

Sexual harassment training teaches employees what kind of behavior is appropriate and expected in the workplace. Here are a few reasons it's important to do and do well.
  • Create a safe environment. As an employer, your employees’ safety should be your first priority, whether it is physical, mental, or social. Sexual harassment training provides the info and resources needed so that employees understand what is needed to create a safe environment. Employees want to come to a place they feel safe and comfortable. Without the proper sexual harassment training, employees might not feel that.
  • Avoid legal issues. Another important thing to consider when it comes to sexual harassment training is the potential ramifications that can come from an employee sexually harassing another employee. Not only does this lead to a toxic culture, but your company can end up being sued. It is important that employees know how to handle a situation if they are being harassed, harassing someone else, or seeing someone being harassed. If any kind of harassment occurs, an employee should report this to HR immediately.
  • Understand company guidelines and expectations. Sexual harassment training shows employees that harassment of any kind will not be tolerated. It helps employees understand the impact of harassment and leads them to take it seriously. It also clarifies what constitutes harassment so employees don’t have to worry about potential gray areas.

Types of Sexual Harassment Training

There are many ways to provide sexual harassment training to your employees. When deciding how you want to provide training, consider what your employees need and what will be the most effective way to train them.

Video Training

One way to provide sexual harassment training is to create videos and make them easily accessible to employees. This is the most flexible way to provide sexual harassment training. It can be hard to coordinate a time for all of your employees to receive training, but videos save time for trainers and students and give employees the flexibility to watch the videos when they have the time. Video training also makes it easy to have your sexual harassment training be a part of your onboarding process, as you can have new hires watch the videos during their first weeks on the job.

Company-wide Training

Another way to provide sexual harassment training is to have an in-person or remote company-wide meeting where the training is provided. This could be part of a kick-off event, company retreat, monthly meeting, or other large gatherings. It can be hard to coordinate a time for everyone to get together, but it also ensures that everyone is trained with the same information at the same time. It saves you time from having to do the training again for employees who weren’t there or tracking down who did or didn't receive the training. There might be less participation with such a big group, as people might be less likely to share their experience with sexual harassment with the entire company.

Group Training

Smaller groups seem to be the most common way to do it. Talking about sexual harassment is a very personal thing and can be hard to talk about for some people. Smaller groups can lead to conversations discussing specific company issues that you might not typically get in a video or company-wide training. Group training also provide you the opportunity to gear the training more toward the group you will be training.

What Is Covered During Sexual Harassment Training

There is not a set sexual harassment training. Every training is different and geared towards the audience. However, there are few things typically included in sexual harassment training.

Quid Pro Quo

One of the most commonly used terms in sexual harassment training is quid pro quo, which is Latin for “this for that.” When it comes to sexual harassment, quid pro quo occurs when an employee’s supervisor or authority figure suggests they will give an employee something, such as a raise or promotion, for some form of sexual favor. For example, a manager tells an employee they will give them a promotion if they go on a date with them. If an employee ever feels pressured into some form of sexual favor by their manager, quid pro quo is likely happening. Quid pro quo is illegal and one of the more serious forms of sexual harassment.

Definition of Sexual Harassment

In a training, sexual harassment is defined on the most basic level to employees. Without being told what it is, some employees might think they are never being harassed or harassing other employees, so it is important to outline what constitutes sexual harassment. The basic definition of sexual harassment is a type of harassment involving the use of explicit or implicit sexual overtones. A training provides further details on what that means and what can be considered sexual harassment.

How to Prevent Sexual Harassment

It is important to provide tools and resources on how to prevent sexual harassment from happening in the workplace. Being aware of what it is and what it looks like goes a long way in creating a harassment-free workplace. However, it is also important to take further action and know what you can do to prevent sexual harassment. This kind of action ultimately leads to come from leadership, as they are the ones that set the example and implement the kind of culture a company wants. Training should set guidelines of what is and isn’t appropriate in the workplace so employees know what they need to do to prevent sexual harassment.

How to Conduct Sexual Harassment Training

Providing your own sexual harassment training is a very cost-effective way for your employees to be properly trained. To do so, you need the necessary resources and tools.

Know State Requirements

Prior to preparing any kind of training for your employees, know what the state requires to be taught in sexual harassment training. Every state is a little different, though much of the information will be similar. Click here to learn more about what each state requires. If your company is located in more than one state, be sure your training complies with the requirements of all of them.

Type of Training

The next step is to decide what type of sexual harassment training you would like to conduct. As mentioned previously, some of those types include video, company-wide, or group training. Your decision should be based on what your employees need and what is going to be most effective for them.


After deciding what kind of training you are going to do, it is important to decide if you will do the training yourself or to have it done by someone outside of your company. Doing it within your company tends to be more cost-effective, won’t take as much time, and can be more company-focused. Having it done by a professionally trained trainer from outside of your company can be beneficial as well. These are all things to consider when deciding who will be doing the training.

Schedule Training

After you have prepared your training, work with management to figure out the best time for the training to take place. If it is a video training, create a deadline for when all employees need to have watched the videos. Make sure you give employees enough time to get the sexual harassment training on their calendar.

Evaluate and Document

After providing the training, it is important to review and document it. Evaluate how the information was received, who participated in the training, and how it can improve. It is important to document everyone who participated in the training, so if needed, you can prove that an employee has been trained on sexual harassment. You don’t need to turn this into the state, but will be important if any sexual harassment situations happen at your company.
Tanner Pierce, PHR

Tanner Pierce, PHR

Tanner has over 4 years of HR professional experience in various fields of HR. He has experience in hiring, recruiting, employment law, unemployment, onboarding, outboarding, and training to name a few. Most of his experience comes from working in the Professional Employer and Staffing Industries. He has a passion for putting people in the best position to succeed and really tries to understand the different backgrounds people come from.
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