Employee Training Update (July 2008)July 2008 – Alerts Employee Training Update
During a recent American Law Institute- American Bar Association teleconference, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission emphasized the importance of training in protecting employers from liability for harassment and discrimination.
As additional classes of employees are added to those protected from discrimination and harassment under federal, state, and local anti-discrimination laws, employers face a greater risk of claims. Harassment charges filed with the EEOC increased from 12 percent in 2006 to 15 percent in 2007. Harassment claims now comprise over 25 percent of the EEOC’s litigation docket.
Harassment avoidance training is an important preventative and defensive measure. First, it can prevent the harassment or discrimination from happening. If it does occur, training can also be an affirmative defense to a claim that the employer is liable for the illegal conduct. Despite these benefits, many employers are not training their supervisors or their employees to prevent and respond to harassment in the workplace. William R. Tamayo, regional attorney in the EEOC’s San Francisco District Office, commented that “[w]e continue to see at the EEOC a failure of companies to train their supervisors on what actions or omissions can expose the company to liability.” Mr. Tamayo noted that supervisors often are unfamiliar with a company’s harassment avoidance policy, and do not know how to respond to claims. Employers need to train “the people in charge,” including supervisors and human resources managers.
Elizabeth Grossman, regional attorney in the EEOC’s NewYork District Office, also emphasized that an employer needs to tailor training to its environment. Employers need to be mindful of the composition of their workforce, including young or non-English speaking workers, when implementing a harassment avoidance training program.
Fox Rothschild’s Employment Law Training Group is experienced in all areas of labor and employment training, including harassment avoidance and diversity programs. To see the Employment Law Training brochure, click on the link below. brochure_employeeLawTraining_070808.pdf
For additional information on Employment Law Training, contact Beth Hinsdale-Piller at 973.994.7523 or [email protected] or Anne Ciesla Bancroft at 609.895.6739 or [email protected] , or any member of the Labor & Employment Department.