This came up because we recently received (at a community college) flyers from Staff Development telling all permanent employees that they must complete two online modules (30 minutes each) for training in the areas of dealing with sexual harassment and violence in the workplace. The modules have to be completed by late October.
I called to clarify, since this flyer wound up even in the part-timers’ boxes–and was told that we contract hourly profs don’t need to do it. (That was quite the waste of paper, considering that there are over 800 of us.)
Anyhow…Nobody in my department seemed too keen on this even if they were exempt. The flyer’s quoting of education code, etc. makes it sound as if they’re doing it just to comply with regulations–which I can understand, because they wouldn’t want to drop the ball in any area. It just got me wondering:
In your workplace, are you required to take seminars, workshops, or online modules in the above areas?
Have you taken them yet? Did you find them useful or a waste of time?
What goes on in these seminars?
Do you fill out a feedback sheet at the end? If so, are you allowed to say it’s b.s. if that’s what you think?
I took a half day course on sexual harrasment in my current job, it was part of orientation. Actually, it was supposed to be 4 hours, but I think we were finished in under 2. In the trainer’s words “we got it”. (Either that or she wanted to go home)
I have gone through a number of these,although my background in Human Resources accounts for most of them. IMO, they are a bit of both. When they are done well, they can be a way of improving communication. Sometimes, it is hard to know where to draw the line; what you say is not always what someone else hears.
Sexual Harrassment training serve two purposes:
First, they state in incontrovertible terms, the company’s policy on harrassment.
Second, they outline the process by which a grievance may be filed. This becomes important if a claim is ever filed. This is first thing that the investigating body looks for. Is there a process and does the company follow it?
All the training sessions I attended have asked for feedback. You are allowed to say whatever you wish.
FWIW-I spent 5 years in the HR department of a small college not that long ago. Amazingly enough, this was an issue on several occassions. Miscommunication was a far bigger problem than actual malice and that is what training classes try to address.
At one company I worked for, we had to take a lot of training seminars, and also ones like diversity, sexual harrassment, etc. And we always had to fill out a lengthy evaluation form on them before leaving.
My officemate, a smoker, was usually in desperate nicotine withdrawal by the end of one of these, and wanted to get out quickly. So he got a few of the evaluation forms, and filled them out in advance, except for the date, title, & instructor part.
He used one of his pre-completed evaluation forms at our company sexual harrassment session.
A few days later he was called in to explain this:
Purpose in attending this session: “Want to perfect my skills in this area, and practice them more effectively within the company.”
My experience is similar to Aitara’s. I work in a very large company, and they need to show that everyone – even consultants – has been told what is and is not acceptable, and that everyone knows what to do if someone else crosses the line. It’s actually useful, since there really are some clueless people who think it’s o.k. to use foul language, dirty jokes and crass personal comments in a professional office. There really are. And there are actually people in positions of authority who will use that authority for exploitation purposes. Even now. And, finally, there are people who think they have to put up with it.
I work for the Federal Government. I have to take Sexual Harrassment Awareness or some such nonsense annually. I’ve had to since 1981. It’s gotten to the point where I just sign my name on the list and take a nap. Pretty worthless exercise to my mind.
Another Fed here. We have a 2-hour seminar every year. It is taught by a lawyer, so its pretty much limited to an overview of the regs and some case studies. I would object if it seem liked a class with a teacher pushing an agenda, but that hasn’t been the case so far.