No business is immune from the potential damage of sexual harassment. Claims and litigation that result from this behavior in the workplace often wreak havoc on a business’ bottom line.

In fact, as far back as 1988, a survey of Fortune 500 companies conducted by Working Women Magazine revealed the extent of the damage. When she analyzed the data, management consultant Dr. Freada Klein concluded that the average Fortune 500 company loses $6.7 million annually in employee turnover, absenteeism, and lost productivity. And that’s in addition to actual monetary damages from lawsuits.

And this particular form of discrimination takes a huge toll on human capital, too. Researchers from various organizations report that between 40 and 60% of women have been harassed at work, and as many as 65% of incidents are not reported, due to fear of retribution.

Unhappy people make an unhappy workforce. However, when your employees work in an environment free from sexual harassment, there is more trust, improved morale, fewer unnecessary distractions, less absenteeism, and more cooperation. In short, a more productive workplace.

Requiring your managers and supervisors to take the legally mandated training puts you in compliance with the law. But going one step further — requiring all employees to take this training regardless of rank or stature — sends a strong message that you genuinely care about an ethical, harmonious and safe workplace. And it empowers bystanders to become active allies in creating an environment that works for everyone.

You can help prevent sexual harassment before it begins. As a company executive, human resource manager, diversity officer or line supervisor, it is within your power to help establish and maintain a workplace where every employee — from the lowest paid to the CEO — understands that sexual harassment will not be tolerated. Moreover, it is your responsibility.

This training will provide actual case studies from corporations and will help prevent a hostile work environment in your company.

 
When I reported the situation, I was told by both HR and upper management that even though this was clearly sexual harassment and he was propositioning me, it was this man’s first offense, and that they wouldn’t feel comfortable giving him anything other than a warning and a stern talking-to. Upper management told me that he ‘was a high performer’ (i.e. had stellar performance reviews from his superiors) and they wouldn’t feel comfortable punishing him for what was probably just an innocent mistake on his part.
— Susan Fowler, of her time at Uber, 2017