Training Pitfalls

Believe it or not, many employers actually increase their exposure to discriminatory harassment claims when training their employees. How? They use substandard training. HRTrain has considered the many ways in which training programs can unwittingly sabotage your organization and we can help you avoid the following training pitfalls.

No Scoring

Many online training programs leave an electronic trail that can result in increased liability. The most obvious electronic trail exists when training is graded. If an employer is notified of employees' scores, and an employee does not get a grade of 100%, the employer may face legal liability for not taking remedial action because it knew the employee did not understand a specific concept. For this reason, HRTrain does not "grade" its discriminatory harassment prevention courses. If an employee answers a quiz question wrong, the quiz will expand and the employee will get another question that he or she will eventually have to answer correctly.

HRTrain realizes, however, that merely declining to provide scores isn't enough. With available technology, even if a course is not formally "graded," an electronic trail of incorrect answers may be recorded in a database. Employment law litigation increasingly revolves around electronic discovery. Your organization may have to disclose the content of the "scores" maintained in your learning management system. There may be scores that you did not even know existed that you could be forced to find and disclose in court! This problem does not exist at HRTrain. HRTrain leaves no electronic trail of incorrect answers. Rather, we encourage employees to click even on incorrect answers as part of their training so they may explore the impact of different actions taken in the workplace.

No Legalese

Some of our competitors confuse employees by trying to explain concepts such "the Faragher and Ellerth affirmative defenses," "shifting burdens of proof," and "adverse tangible employment action." This training is irrelevant to your organization. You are training your workers to prevent unlawful harassment, not so that they can obtain law degrees. In fact, the actual definition and application of such terms is so involved that hundreds of employment lawyers argue every day about their meaning. Instead of expending your resources to explain abstract legal concepts, HRTrain's courses focus on what supervisors and non-supervisors actually need to know to help reduce sexual harassment in the workplace and build legal defenses that may be used if your organization ever has to face a claim. HRTrain's courses focus on common sense, not complex legal issues that are often not even understood by employment law litigators.


An increasing number of sexual harassment cases are lost by employers because of improper investigations. Investigations and appropriate remedial actions can help provide an affirmative defense to sexual harassment claims. In an attempt to provide employers with such an affirmative defense, many discriminatory harassment prevention training programs encourage supervisors to take it upon themselves to investigate claims. HRTrain believes this is a major problem. Many employers lose sexual harassment cases based on the investigation because the individuals investigating the claims were not properly trained and did not take appropriate steps. Supervisors should be encouraged to identify potential problems and communicate with human resources or upper management. Human resources or upper management should then ensure that there is a proper investigation. HRTrain's courses do not encourage supervisors to investigate.

No Cartoons

Discriminatory harassment prevention training is not a joke and you could be sending the wrong message if you treat it like one. Training does not need to be dumbed down with cartoons to hold employees' interest. We believe that realistic scenarios provide a better training environment, and more useable information, than cartoons.

Non-Harassing and Politically Correct

Some purported sexual harassment prevention training is in itself harassing. The training should not ever make employees uncomfortable by including inappropriate "jokes" or comments. HRTrain hired Education Directors to help ensure that our discriminatory harassment prevention solution does not unnecessarily offend or cause discomfort. We worked with the Executive Director of a major women's rights group, a mediator/arbitrator from the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations and a human resources executive from a Fortune 100 company to ensure that our script is realistic, tactful and sensitive to the possibility of offending trainees.

Not a Page Turner

We have seen some courses that are nothing more than a "page turner." Employees could click through the course while drinking their morning cup of coffee without learning a thing. HRTrain's courses utilize award winning instructional design to help ensure that the training sticks. Further, HRTrain's courses are designed so that employees cannot skip over important areas.

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