Workplace harassment can devastate even the most successful childcare company. It can erode a company’s work culture, employee morale, and trust, and it can lead to damaging legal consequences that tarnish the company’s hard-earned reputation and cost exorbitant amounts in legal fees. How can workplace harassment prevention training help childcare business owners be proactive in preventing harassment at their childcare facilities? In this article, we define workplace harassment and explore the importance of harassment prevention training for childcare businesses. Read on to find out more.
What Is Workplace Harassment?
Workplace harassment can take many forms, and it’s vital for you and your employees to be able to identify, report, and put a stop to it. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), harassment is unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, older age, disability, or genetic information. Harassment becomes unlawful where 1) enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment, or 2) the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive.
Offensive conduct may include, but is not limited to, offensive jokes, slurs, epithets or name calling, physical assaults or threats, intimidation, ridicule or mockery, insults or put-downs, offensive objects or pictures, and interference with work performance.
Let’s take a look at some of the common types of workplace harassment:
Physical Harassment – Physical harassment is one of the most common types of workplace harassment. It involves physical assault and threatening behavior, taking the form of pushing, shoving, slapping, and punching.
Sexual Harassment – Sexual harassment is another one of the most common types of workplace harassment. It includes sexual jokes, comments, and questions, offensive sexual gestures, asking for sexual favors, and all forms of unwanted sexual behavior.
Personal Harassment – Another common type of workplace harassment, personal harassment is also known as bullying. It includes unwanted remarks, insults, and derogatory language.
Discriminatory Harassment – Discriminatory harassment is directed at a victim because they belong to a protected class. It can include racial discrimination, gender discrimination, religious discrimination, disability-based harassment, sexual orientation-based harassment, and aged-based harassment.
Cyberbullying – More common than ever in the technological age we live in, cyberbullying is harassment that takes place online. It includes harassment in the form of emails, text messages, and on social media.
Psychological Harassment – Psychological harassment includes behaviors that are overt and covert, including behaviors such as denying the victim’s presence, spreading rumors about the victim, challenging or questioning everything the victim says, and belittling or dismissing the victim’s thoughts.
Third Party Harassment – Third party harassment occurs when the perpetrator is not an employee of the company. He or she could be a customer or client of the company, or a vendor or contractor.
Power Harassment – Power harassment encompasses a variety of harassment behaviors that are exercised by a person in a position of power, such as a manager or supervisor, against a victim who is in a subordinate position.
Verbal Harassment – A common type of workplace harassment that involves offensive language, threatening, yelling at, or cursing out a victim. It can be difficult to pinpoint instances of verbal harassment when they cross the line between a personality conflict and intentional harmful words.
Retaliation – Retaliation harassment can occur when a victim reports harassment from a perpetrator and the perpetrator then tries to get even with, or inflict punishment on, the victim for speaking out.
As you can see from the list above, there are many forms of workplace harassment. Some are easier to identify and report than others, and many of them overlap. That’s why it’s essential to educate and train yourself and your employees to prevent workplace harassment and eradicate it immediately if it becomes a problem at your childcare company.
What Are Mandatory Harassment Training Laws?
You want to create a safe, respectful, and inclusive work environment for your Early Childhood Education team, and you also have a legal obligation to do so. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) advocates for workplace harassment training for all employers, no matter the industry or size of your business. However, mandatory harassment training laws, particularly sexual harassment prevention training, vary by state.
One in five U.S. workers lives in a state where sexual harassment training is mandatory. You can check out a list of up-to-date harassment training requirements by state through Project When, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to research and implementable solutions for all areas of workplace harassment. You will want to check out the requirements in the state(s) where you operate your childcare business to make sure you stay compliant with state regulations.
How Can Workplace Harassment Prevention Training Help You Stay Compliant and Create a Respectful Work Culture?
Workplace harassment prevention training proves an invaluable resource to you as a childcare business owner by helping you take a proactive approach to prevent harassment at your childcare facility. Here are some of the benefits of workplace harassment prevention training:
- Cultivate a Respectful Work Culture – You want your childcare organization to be a place where not only children thrive, but your childcare employees do too. Harassment prevention training helps you and your team get on the same page about what is acceptable behavior in the workplace and what isn’t. Taking a strong stance on workplace harassment and promoting a positive work culture through training shows your employees that you value their well-being and want to create a space for them to thrive.
- Reduce Incidences of Workplace Harassment – It may be stating the obvious, but one of the major goals of providing workplace harassment prevention training to your team is to lessen the occurrence of harassment behavior at work. Equipping your employees (and yourself) with knowledge empowers everyone to be their best selves and know what is expected of them.
- Maintain Compliance with Mandatory Regulations – Workplace harassment prevention training ensures your childcare business maintains compliance with federal and state laws and regulations. In turn, compliance and prevention work hand in hand to protect your childcare company against lawsuits and other legal and financial penalties.
- Encourage Identification and Reporting of Harassment – Simply put, when staff is properly trained to recognize and report workplace harassment, there is a greater likelihood that they will do so. Workplace harassment prevention training offers practical insight to help you and your employees know what to do in a variety of situations involving harassment and unwanted behavior.
- Access Flexible Training Options for Your Team – These days, there are many options available for workplace harassment prevention training. Many of these training resources are offered online for you and your team members to access on demand in a format that works best for you.
Honest Buck Accounting has recently partnered with Mineral HR, an online HR and compliance platform that offers personalized solutions for all your HR needs, including workplace harassment training prevention.
Why Mineral HR Is a Great Option for Your Workplace Harassment Training Prevention Needs
Mineral HR offers harassment awareness and prevention E-courses designed to meet state-specific harassment training requirements and empower your team with knowledge in a wide variety of diversity, equity, and inclusion topics.
Mineral HR makes it simple to create and assign a personalized curriculum of online harassment prevention training, especially for the states that mandate it. You can track your employees’ progress as they complete their courses. With Mineral, you also get detailed, up-to-date guidelines to help you design and communicate clear company policies, which makes it easy to verify you’re always in compliance.
We love that Mineral HR offers the ability to call an HR professional to get advice, search their database of labor laws by state, and conduct online workplace harassment training on demand.
Our partnership with Mineral HR gives us the ability to offer our clients more specialized services than ever to help them grow their Early Childhood Education businesses. Schedule a call to speak with one the experts at Honest Buck Accounting today.