Senior staff are expected to implement and enforce EEO, bullying and harassment policies in a business; so, should all staff, including senior levels, receive appropriate training in these areas?
Q: Must the employer provide training to all levels of staff in regards to EEO, bullying and sexual harassment?
A: The provision of training in relation to EEO, etc, is helpful in that it should reduce breaches of these provisions as well as showing that an employer is serious about solving and avoiding such incidents.
A national survey in 2011 found that close to one-third (28%) of Australian workers said they had been bullied in the workforce; while 42% of employees report having witnessed their colleagues being bullied or discriminated against at work, a national survey of more than 5100 employees has found.
NO STRICT GUIDELINES
There is no strict legislative compulsion in relation to training, but failing to address the issues in a meaningful manner makes it difficult for an employer to demonstrate that all reasonable attempts to meet requirements were made.
As an example, an employer that had a policy in place and had provided training in relation to sexual harassment both before and after certain incidents occurred was able to mount a successful defence to a harassment complaint because it had taken reasonable steps to prevent employees from contravening the legislation.
Claire Harrison is the Founder and Managing Director of Harrisons, a flourishing HR consulting business that sprouted in 2009 from Claire’s passionate belief that inspiring leaders and superstar employees are the key success factor to any business. With over 20 years’ experience, Claire has worked as a HR Director of multi-national organisations, as a Non-Executive Board Director, and a small business owner. Claire’s corporate career includes working with companies such as BHP, Westpac, Fonterra and Mayne Nickless.