If your company has employees in Connecticut, you have until October 1, 2020 to provide them with two hours of sexual harassment prevention training.
Plus anytime a new employee starts, you have six months to provide that person with two hours of training.
2 Hours of Sexual Harassment Training Is a Lot
In a small company with everyone working in one location, this isn’t a big deal. Having led hundreds of these sessions, two hours can be informational and engaging if the session is interactive and the trainer is skilled.
For large companies that have a distributed workforce, this requirement is going to create a big problem.
I can’t imagine that a national retailer or restaurant chain doing business in Connecticut is going to successfully pull off in-person sexual harassment training. The costs will be too high and the logistical headaches too great.
Standard E-learning Still Has Issues
The obvious alternative is e-learning. But the two hour requirement creates new problems:
- A two hour online training isn’t easy to sit through. Try it some time. I fall asleep even when watching a training I was interested in and picked myself.
- The basic sexual harassment prevention topics can be covered in an e-learning format in 30-45 minutes. That leaves more than an hour of filler material. Do you really want your employees saying you made them sit through compliance training and wasted their time?
- Uninterrupted two-hour time blocks are hard to create when there are only a handful of employees working at any given time. A retailer may have only three employees working. Pulling someone off the floor for two hours isn’t likely to happen.
A Better Solution
The law doesn’t say the two hours need to happen in one sitting. It also doesn’t say what content can be part of the training.
Of course, any sexual harassment training needs to cover the basics, including:
- A description of illegal conduct.
- What to do if it happens to you or you witness it.
- What you can expect if you report the problem.
- That retaliation is illegal.
Managers need to know:
- How to appropriately set expectations.
- How to monitor the workplace for problems.
- How to take appropriate action when they learn of a problem.
- How to manage a complaint investigation.
Training That Adds Value
You’ve got two hours. There’s so much more you could do to help create a better workplace culture. Imagine supporting the foundation material with the following content:
- How to recognize other forms of harassment that are illegal, but not sexual harassment.
- How to be an effective bystander.
- How to be a respectful coworker.
- How to appreciate diversity.
- How to keep unconscious bias from creating problems.
- How to work through conflicts with coworkers.
- How to deal with social media.
- How to deal with dating in the workplace.
- How to handle problems that come up for employees working in bars or restaurants.
- How to have a coaching conversation that changes behavior.
You Need a Flexible Solution
You can meet the letter of the law and still provide so much more without the hassle and expense of in-person training or “one and done” online courses.
Let me introduce you to The Respectful Workplace Toolkit. It has nearly two dozen microlearning courses that you can mix and match based on your organizational goals and each employee’s role.
It allows you to decide the content you want to include to accomplish much more than simple compliance with Connecticut’s two-hour training requirement.
Load them into your learning management system (LMS) and assign them as you see fit. Supervisors and managers might be asked to take one set of courses. New employees another. Existing employees might be assigned a course or two as a refresher, assuming they’ve already had the two hours of required training.
Spread out the assignment over six months. That way managers don’t have to figure out how they’re going to schedule employees for two-hour blocks. Instead they could suggest that an employee jump on a computer and complete 1-2 courses during a lull.
Over time, everyone fulfills the compliance requirements without a major business disruption.
Other States Have Laws Too
The toolkit has been built to fulfill compliance requirements in all the states that have recently passed sexual harassment training laws. In addition to Connecticut these include:
- New York
If you operate in multiple states and are unsure how to keep up with the rapidly changing regulatory environment, we’d be happy to help.
Schedule a short call to talk about your training needs and goals. If the Respectful Workplace Toolkit sounds like a possible solution to your problem, we can set up a demo so you can check out the courses for yourself.
Free Resource for Planning Your Sexual Harassment Training Program
If you’ve never rolled out this sort of training before, you’ll want to read our Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Implementation Guide for HR Managers. Or if you prefer, download a copy in PDF format.