The EEOC, the federal agency responsible for preventing sexual harassment, recently recommended that training programs should include a discussion of workplace values like respect, and teach bystanders how to intervene when they see it. They call their new employee training “Respect in the Workplace.”
As the company that invented the harassment prevention training called “Respectful Workplace” more than 30 years ago, Fair Measures welcomes the EEOC and all the lawyers who will now begin teaching it.
With all our years of classroom experience, we’ve learned a few things it may take them a while to catch on to. One is that it is very challenging to talk about values, because everyone’s values are different. After all, harassers have values, too—they just aren’t the same as most people’s. Even if we all agree that we value respect, different people define respect differently.
That’s why we don’t lecture about values. Instead, we let the participants reflect on and talk about their own values.
Teaching bystanders to intervene is another challenging area. We have found that lecturing about it doesn’t do much good once they get back to work. Instead, they need to build their intervention skills.
These two “new” areas recommended by the EEOC require a “new” type of harassment prevention training. No longer can trainers simply lecture about it. They need to facilitate learning by asking questions, facilitating exercises, and getting participants to think.
When most lawyers ask questions in a classroom, they sound like they are cross-examining witnesses. But we’ve learned that doesn’t help people get any insights into their own behavior, which is what they need in order to change.
We are grateful that the EEOC has acknowledged the efficacy of the Fair Measures approach, not only because it validates our decision to teach this way 30 years ago, but also because our method will now become widespread and help prevent harassment.
What you should do: Organizations looking for experienced “Respectful Workplace” lawyer-trainers should call Fair Measures at 800-458-2778.
Information here is correct at the time it is posted. Case decisions cited here may be reversed. Please do not rely on this information without consulting an attorney first.