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Sexual Harassment: Investigating Complaints Training Course

Preview Course

Sexual harassment - be it anywhere - isn’t just about sex. It involves the harasser being hostile toward a victim, abusing power over that victim, and hurting the health and well-being of employees and the organization. Harassment becomes a real problem when it is so frequent and severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment, or results in an adverse employment decision, such as the employee being demoted or even fired.

15 minutes   |   SKU: AT080    |    Language(s): EN / ES / FR    |    Produced 2023




EN / ES / FR




15 minutes

Training Objectives

Understanding sexual harassment and protected categories
Defining consent
Examples of sexual harassment in the workplace
Laws governing sexual harassment
Policy guidance related to sexual harassment

Course Overview

This training will discuss the laws that surround sexual harassment in the workplace. Further information will be provided on policy guidance relevant to investigating complaints and how to handle them. Examples of sexual harassment encompass a wide range of conduct, but in this training, we will review a few examples, such as:

  • Any physical assault or attempt at physical conduct of a sexual nature - which includes touching, pinching, grabbing, and rubbing up against another’s body - all done without consent is considered prohibited conduct.
  • Unwelcome sexual advances, or comments, noises, remarks, or jokes about a person’s sexuality or sexual experience is considered prohibited conduct.
  • Preferential treatment toward an employee in exchange for sexual favors is considered prohibited conduct.
  • Subjecting, or threats of such, an employee to unwelcome sexual attention or conduct or intentionally making the performance of the employee’s job more difficult because of that employee’s sex is considered prohibited conduct.
  • Sexual or discriminatory displays anywhere in the workplace are considered prohibited conduct.

This training will discuss the two types of workplace sexual harassment; hostile work environment and quid pro quo. Both types are prohibited if the individual has not consented to, or agreed to the behavior.

The training will continue with discussing laws that govern sexual harassment. There are laws that govern and protect an individual’s safety and it becomes extremely helpful if the victim informs the harasser directly that the conduct is unwelcome and must stop. The EEOC looks at the whole record when investigating allegations of sexual harassment. They investigate the circumstances, nature of the sexual advances, and the context in which the alleged incident occurred. Sexual harassment is a violation of section 703 of Title VII. Under Title VII, an employer’s liability for workplace sexual harassment depends on the status of the harasser. The U.S. Supreme Court holds that Title VII imposes strict liability on an employer when a supervisor takes action against an employee who refuses to submit to sexual demands.

As an employer, you must adopt written sexual harassment reporting policies. Failure to report opens the door for the employer to raise this affirmative defense to liability and damages. An employee’s fear of confrontation or retaliation does not prevent him or her from alerting the employer to a hostile work environment.

Liability for unlawful harassment by supervisors maintains that an employee is a supervisor if the employer has empowered that employee to take tangible employment action against the victim. For instance, a significant change in employment status, such as hiring, firing, failing to promote, or reassignment with different responsibilities. The employer must maintain liability for harassment by a supervisor on a prohibited basis that culminates in a tangible employment action.

To prevent any form of retaliation from occurring, employers must inform all employees that retaliation is prohibited. Employers should ensure employees that they will not be punished for taking actions that are protected by law, ensure managers understand their responsibility to stop, address, and prevent retaliation, and hold employees accountable for complying with and enforcing discrimination rules and policies.

In addition to understanding your responsibility toward retaliation, as an employer, you also need to understand the Statute of Limitations for filing Title VII claims, including sexual harassment. The EEOC sets the Statute of Limitations of 180 days for filing such claims. Some states maintain separate sexual harassment laws protecting employees. In this case, the time limit to file a claim becomes 300 days. So, you should file sooner than later, as the time limits for filing a charge with the EEOC will not be extended while you attempt to resolve a dispute through another forum.

Overall, culture is created through leadership. Employers need the proper training to get more people involved in solving the problem. Leaders must take responsibility for the problem and commit to solving these issues, setting an example for all managers and supervisors.

This program is available with Spanish and French closed captions.

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Disclaimer: The information provided on this page is subject to change and is for promotional and informational purposes only. Prior to acting on the information contained on this page, verify all information against the latest OSHA and applicable standards, regulations, and guidelines. Please also contact us with any questions you have related to this information. Under no circumstances will Atlantic Training, LLC be held responsible for direct, indirect, consequential, or incidental injuries or damages, or any damages or injuries whatsoever, whether resulting from contract, negligence, or other torts, related to the utilization of this information or the contents of this page. Atlantic Training retains the right to incorporate, remove, or adjust the contents on this page without prior notice.