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Sexual Harassment: Is there a Solution?

The media and workplace have been flooded with allegations of sexual harassment. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) states that sexual harassment can include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical acts of intimidation or coercion. However, it doesn’t have to be of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment can also include offensive remarks about a person’s gender. The harassment claims have not been initiated only by women, as men also experience unwarranted sexual advances. Often, many argue about which party is responsible.

Are the women dressing inappropriately? Is it okay for a company leader or manager to have consensual sex with a subordinate? Who’s at fault when sexual advances are made at a work party in a hotel suite? Is it the host’s?

The majority of corporations and organizations offer their employee’s compliance training that includes sexual harassment education. This is now required as a result of two Supreme Court cases. It was determined that for a company to avoid liability in a sexual harassment case, it had to prove that it had trained employees on its anti-harassment policies. Often, training is provided, largely, to check a box for EEOC purposes. It can be argued that the training is not effective, as some individuals are only required to sit or click-through a video or complete online training. Is the training inadequate? Or is training really the issue?