2010). That said, Perry notes that "we know surprisingly little" about whether the training actually creates "positive change"; and given that lack of specific knowledge, the authors present what they call the "best training practices" that are available for HR departments and managers (187).
The "best practices" factors that have proven successful in preparing HR professionals in matters of sexual harassment include: a) "Pre-training factors" (an assessment of who needs the training; how will the training take place; and what will the content be); b) "Training Design and Delivery Factors" (this is an area where there is no one good answer; in some situations "passive" methods might be best and in other situations "experiential" methods might be better); and c) "Post-training Factors" (once learning has taken place, thee needs to be "reinforcement" to keep trainees motivated to use what they learned during the training exercises (Perry, 190).
Meanwhile, Canada certainly hasn't been immune to the problems of sexual harassment in the workplace, according to the Journal of Family Violence. And the Canadian courts come down quite hard on employers when their supervisors are guilty of sexual improprieties, but the courts do not hit the employers as hard when coworkers are guilty of sexually-themed infractions (Schell, 2003). It would be interesting to know how Canadian HR managers respond to that conundrum. In the U.S., the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) has sanctions against employers when sexual harassment is perpetrated by coworkers -- but only if the employer was aware, or should have been aware of the incidents and did not launch an investigation or take "remedial action" (Schell, 352).
And Schell reports that an empirical study of litigation in the U.S. showed that only 31% of the sexual harassment charges filed against supervisors resulted in "favorable outcomes for the complainant" (Schell, 352). Schell references Terpstra and Baker (1998, p. 193) who suggest that HR managers should -- besides posting types of behaviors considered sexual harassment and the penalties for those behaviors -- establish "grievance and complaint" procedures that may mitigate complaints before they "reach filing stage" (Schell, 352).
It should also be mentioned that HR managers are well aware that using email to solicit sex or romantic activities from a coworker is also considered workplace harassment. In the Journal of Critical Incidents, a situation is presented in which a woman was accused of harassing a man. She approached him in the workplace several times and one night he found an email from the woman that said she was "…having crazy dreams about you and I being in the bathtub" (Trusty, et al. 2011). "Using email to harass others is a major infraction," the HR policy explains.
The task of training HR professionals (and others) to recognize sexual harassment is not a simple process and as is presented in this paper, there is no one sure way to train staff. HR managers must: a) be certain that their policies follow the law and are understood by all; b) be trained so they can successfully judge that the people they hire are not likely to engage in unlawful behaviors; c) be on the cutting edge of training methods for supervisors and others in positions of leadership.
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