Sure, times are tough, and perhaps your organization’s training budget has taken a hit. But so-called “bargain” anti-harassment training may turn out to be very expensive if it’s not effective, as a recent federal appeals case demonstrates. Teenagers Katrina Shisler and Michelle Powell were servers at an IHOP in Wisconsin. They complained to the general manager that supervisors had grabbed and groped them, talked dirty to them, and even propositioned them. The GM said she “would take care of it”, but nothing happened. When one of the teenagers complained again, the GM told her “I don’t need to hear it.” The waitresses went to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which sued on their behalf.
In court, company officials claimed the restaurant had a zero-tolerance policy against sexual harassment, and provided training for all staff. The training consisted of showing new hires a harassment videotape, handing them a copy of the policy, and asking them to read and sign it.
But the “policy and complaint mechanism were not … effective in practice,” the court found. And although management was required to take sexual harassment training, “the evidence … suggested that the training was inadequate …