Contact: Pat McDermott
Anti-Harassment Training Increases
In Wake of Supreme Court Rulings
New videos support "reasonable care" defense in fighting harassment suits
On June 26 of this year, American employers woke up to a new legal reality. In 2 landmark decisions, the US Supreme Court both expanded the liability employers face in cases of workplace harassment and, at the same time, offered them an "affirmative defense". In light of these changes, new training programs are emerging to teach employees and managers their rights and responsibilities. One of the world leaders in workplace harassment training programs, Quality Media Resources (QMR) of Bellevue, Washington, has just released You Can STOP Harassment. This video-based series helps supervisors, managers and employees understand how, under the new rules, they all share responsibility to stop workplace harassment.
The "reasonable care" language presented by the Court may defend employers from harassment claims when they have a clear anti-harassment policy and fair complaint procedures in place. Simply having a policy does not, however, protect an employer from all liability. Employees and management must understand the policy and there must be a credible effort to enforce it.
At the same time, employees must make use of the policies and procedures available to them to stop inappropriate behavior or they may forfeit their right to compensation in a harassment suit against their employer.
In light of these new rulings, employers both large and small are rushing to make sure they have clear anti-harassment policies in place and that their employees and managers understand those policy and will enforce them.
The threat from workplace harassment is not limited to the cost of legal suits. Harassment can result in lost productivity, may destroy workplace teams, can lead people to quit their jobs and can be personally devastating both to the target of the behavior and the accused harasser.
"While sexual harassment has commanded much of the media's attention, inappropriate and illegal behavior at work goes far beyond gender issues," said Robert Rosell, the writer and producer of You Can STOP Harassment. "Harassment is a form of discrimination where people are subjected to threatening, intimidating, embarrassing or other offensive behavior because of their gender, race, religion, age or some other distinguishing characteristic," Rosell added.
"To really tackle this problem takes a united effort by all those affected. This includes the offenders, those they offend, observers of the behavior and organizational leaders," said Rosell. "You Can STOP Harassment is not about pointing fingers and assigning blame. It sends a positive message that shows how we can each take responsibility to create workplaces where people feel safe, valued and free to do their best work."
QMR has produced over 25 video and multimedia-based learning programs on subjects such as sexual harassment, workforce diversity, conflict management and the legal and appropriate use of e-mail. The company's award-winning programs are in use by every branch of the military, over 10,000 major US corporations and by most federal and state agencies including the White House, US Senate and US House of Representatives. The programs are also being used by organizations in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America.
For more information about QMR and the responsibilities organizations and individuals face regarding workplace harassment, please contact Robert Rosell at (425) 455-0558, or Quinn/Brein at (206) 842-8922.
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