Straight Talk on Harassment Training

Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation Prevention Training is the worst! How can training employees and managers to contribute to a corporate environment free from discriminatory and harassing behavior be bad or even the worst, you ask? Because harassment training is stale, it begets stupid commentary and it has to exist in the first place. 

First, the content is dry, it’s boring, it’s routine. There is no way to make this training fun. I can’t even sell it as another “tool in your toolbox.” I’ve developed training at two different companies,  created two different presentations and both were exactly 24 Powerpoint slides of the same content. Protected classes- check; history lesson of Federal law- you bet; examples of discrimination- oh yeah; sexual harassment- both hostile environment and quid pro quo- yup, got that. Retaliation, Code of Conduct, verbatim policies copied and pasted from the Employee Handbook- it’s all there. As much as I want to be an HR Extraordinaire, there is no way to brush the wand of innovation over this training. The only thing to hope for is new material. Despite the number of companies where training is mandatory and where hordes of employees have all been trained en masse, the corporate environment year over year miraculously keeps the pipeline of palm-to-forehand dumbshit-tery a-flowing.harassment

Second, the unending number of asinine comments. Not the straight-up ignorant comments that led to the training in the first place, but the inane comments that fly out of the employees’ mouths when the training is announced. You know who are the absolute worst, Managers! Yes, Managers somehow come down with a case of uncontrollable mouth diarrhea as soon as the training invite hits their inbox. “Now that I’m trained, I’m free to harass, right?” “Is this training going to teach me how to harass better?” and “Oooh, you can’t say that, that’s discrimination against (insert any characteristic that’s not actually a protected class)” Hardy-har-har, you witless buffoons.

Third and finally, Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation Prevention Training is the worst because its even a thing.
Why can’t people just come to work, get the job done, have a friendly conversation with his or her colleagues and then go home? Somehow in that basic transaction, we find ways to bash other people for characteristics they can’t even control. Somehow we just have to be better than someone, even at work, to make ourselves feel better. On the other hand, if everyone minded their P’s and Q’s in the workplace, at worst, I probably wouldn’t have a job and at best, I wouldn’t be writing this post.

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