With workplace harassment claims dominating the headlines, every business needs to take harassment prevention training seriously. Human Resources managers are uniquely responsible to guide their organizations in preventing sexual harassment and to properly address concerns when employees complain about workplace conduct. This 2-day course will give you a firm understanding of the law surrounding this issue and help you know what best practices to put in place at your employer to communicate behavior expectations. You will also learn expert investigative techniques that will help you feel confident in resolving issues, both for your employee's benefit and to reduce your employer’s potential liability. This is a 12-credit class to assist with your professional certification requirements.

Learning Objectives:

  • Define Sexual Harassment and offensive behavior that can be considered harassment
  • Explain the statutory regulations and legal background of Sexual Harassment.
  • Define Quid Prop Quo versus Hostile work environment
  • Understanding employers’ responsibility with sexual harassment
  • Identify the effects that sexual harassment has on people.
  • Recognize that sexual harassment of any type is a form of discrimination and will not be tolerated.
  • Implement ways of handling claims of sexual harassment.
  • Explain your role as an HR professional dealing with sexual harassment claims
  • Discuss precedent case law Faragher City of Boca Raton 1998
  • Review precedent case law Burlington Industries, Inc. v. Ellerth 1998
  • Review precedent case law Oncale v. Sundowner
  • Explain “vicarious responsibility”
  • Learn How To Prevent Costly Employee Litigation Claims
  • The liability of “you knew” or “you should have known”
  • Explain the steps when an employee files a claim of harassment with the Equal Opportunity Commission
  • Define the steps to handle sexual harassment complaints
  • Explain what is involved in a “Thorough” and “Prompt” investigation
  • Discuss EEOC’s guidelines to handle “inconclusive conclusions” in an investigation
  • Identify procedures to prevent sexual harassment from happening
  • A process on how employees file an EEOC sexual harassment claim
  • Companies “zero tolerance” with sexual harassment
  • Discuss what “constructive discharge means”
  • Identify the meaning of a “reasonable person”
  • Discuss what a prompt and thorough investigation means
  • Building the “puzzle”
  • Discuss obtaining corroboration – witness statements
  • Discuss how to “substantiate the allegations”
  • Identify the steps of “The investigative report”
  • Review the steps necessary to avoid a case of retaliation in addition to the sexual harassment claim

Who will Benefit:

  • Human Resources Manager
  • Risk Management
  • HR Supervisor
  • HR Generalist
  • Employee Relations Persons
  • Training and Development Manager
  • Senior management should undergo the awareness course, to identify, respond, report and prevent sexual harassment practice at a workplace.
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Day 01(10:00 AM - 6:00 PM)
  • Day 1 – Understanding the Law and Prevention Steps
  • The Big Picture
    • The history of how sexual harassment became an important societal issue
    • The role of the EEOC in investigating complaints and what their complaint statistics indicate
    • Understanding the significance of vicarious liability for your employers
    • Answering personal liability questions – Are HR professionals personally liable for illegal harassment that occurs in the workplace? Individual managers?
  • Federal Law
    • Understanding the law behind sexual harassment and important judicial decisions
    • Learning about the various types of illegal sexual harassment as defined by the EEOC
    • Understanding what your obligations are regarding vendor/contractor behavior
    • How to identify illegal retaliation against complainants and why retaliation is a distinct aspect from sexual harassment allegations
    • Understanding the difference between sexual harassment and gender discrimination
    • Recognizing what is and isn’t sexual harassment
  • Case studies – Interactive Discussion
    • Review case studies revealing types of sexual harassment
    • Review retaliation situations
    • Identifying aspects of cases requiring investigation
  • Prevention Measures
    • Should your company have a “zero-tolerance” policy?
    • Drafting an anti-sexual harassment policy and complaint policy and what should be included
    • Providing avenues for employees to raise complaints
    • How to address employee romance to protect your employer
    • Guidance on after-hours socialization and what your managers should not do
    • Methods to communicate your company policy so that awareness is clear
    • Defining what training programs are necessary, how often they should be given, and related record keeping best practices
Day 02(10:00 AM - 6:00 PM)
  • Day 2 – Investigative Techniques and Issues to Consider
  • Investigation Considerations
    • Understand the Standards of Proof and what is expected of the investigator
    • Recognizing timeliness obligations
    • The critical need to ensure confidentiality
  • What to Do When a Complaint Arises
    • Documenting the issue and how to “draw the box” so that you know what to investigate
    • Understanding the importance of developing a chronology of events and witnesses
    • Determining what issues require a formal investigation
    • Setting expectations with the reporter of the complaint
    • Addressing the complainant that doesn’t want their complaint investigated
    • Protecting the complainant from retaliation
    • How to address anonymous complaints
  • The Investigator Role
    • The responsibilities of an investigator
    • Determining who else should participate
    • Identifying decision-makers who will oversee your investigation
    • Ensuring “need to know” confidentiality
    • What to do when an employee wants their attorney or another person present
  • Planning and Scoping the Investigation
    • How to balance completeness vs company disruption due to the impact of an investigation
    • When to use administrative employment suspension
    • Gathering contextual and related information
    • Determining the order of witness interviews
    • Developing witness questions and proper order of questions
  • Setting the Table with Witnesses
    • Why you must avoid group interviews
    • The importance of developing trust
    • Defining for witnesses what is expected of them before the interview
    • Explaining your role and what you will do with the information gained from the witness
    • Determining what information to reveal to witnesses and in what order
    • How to use demeanor evidence in assessing witness credibility
    • Wildcards that witnesses sometimes play
    • How to close the witness interview
    • How to confront the accused
  • Resolving the Complaint
    • Reviewing evidence and reaching conclusions, interpreting conflicting evidence
    • How to discuss findings with decision-makers
    • Steps to take with accused whether or not a violation occurred
    • How to write responses to the complainant and accused explaining outcomes
    • Importance of monitoring situation going forward
    • How to handle false allegations
    • Review of sample closure memorandums and disciplinary documents
  • Common Pitfalls of Poor Investigations
    • Avoiding common mistakes made
    • Understanding the danger of making legal conclusions
  • Review and Wrap Up
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Elga Lejarza

Elga Lejarza
SPHR, SHRM-SCP, President Lejarza HR Consulting

Elga Lejarza is founder and president of Lejarza HR Consulting LLC. She has 20+ years' experience in the field of Human Resources Management and is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources SPHR, SHRM-SCP. Lejarza HR Consulting provides Recruitment, Training and Consulting services to small to medium sized businesses in all the states and in Puerto Rico. All services provided by Lejarza HR Consulting are also provided in both languages, English and Spanish and can be customized to fit each individual organization.

Ms. Lejarza also works a Human Resources Generalist for Walgreens Distribution Center in Williamston South Carolina. She is a business partner/faculty member of, and Ms. Lejarza is a member of the National Society for Human Resources Management, the Greenville Society of Human Resources Management, the Anderson Society of Human Resources Management and the Greenville American Payroll Association.

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