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Is sexual harassment training just a bunch of hot air?

It’s not clear whether sexual harassment training in California workplaces — even though it’s now commonplace and standard procedure — actually help to curb sexual harassment at work. This is a particularly distressing revelation considering that most companies readily line their employees up to attend sexual harassment training sessions, then rest on their laurels with the belief that they’ve done their part to stop this abhorrent employment-related abuse.

In fact, only a few scientific studies have actually investigated how effective sexual harassment training is. Unfortunately, what existing research does not reveal is whether sexual harassment training reduces instances of harassment. Nor does research reveal whether existing training methods work to make employees take the problem more seriously.

This is unsettling news considering how many women continue to suffer from an onslaught of on-the-job harassment. Are employers doing enough to make this abuse stop? Are boring, cookie-cutter, sexual harassment training sessions working at all?

Perhaps the most effective means of reducing the number of sexual harassment instances in California workplaces is for victims of the abuse to speak up, complain to supervisors, file complaints and take legal action if necessary to defend their rights to a safe and comfortable work environment. When employers face real financial consequences — and when employees suffer the destruction and loss of their careers when they commit this despicable behavior — maybe workplace culture will then be inspired to change.

If you’re being victimized by sexual harassment at your workplace, don’t delay. Take action now to hold your abusers accountable and reclaim the safe and supportive work environment you deserve.

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