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Online Sexual Harassment Training Just Makes Sense

By Judith Lindenberger / June 2011

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I am a trainer at heart. I love the experience of facilitating a face-to-face discussion with a group of people and seeing learning in action. But I have come to realize that e-learning also has an important place in teaching and training. Employees want to spend less time in training and companies want easier ways to schedule training. The solution, elearning.

As the cost to produce e-learning has dramatically decreased, employers are looking at new ways to incorporate traditional workplace training. Sexual harassment is a difficult topic to teach and requires the ability to be professional, open, and clear. In an organization that is far reaching with distinct internal cultures, it's important to convey a consistent message as it relates to sexual harassment.

In 1983 I designed and conducted the first-ever sexual harassment seminars for federal workers after a million dollar lawsuit was filed against the Federal Aviation Administration. I spent an entire year traveling around the Northeast conducting seminars for air traffic controllers. It was time-consuming, exhausting, and expensive. But I learned how to field every question that was thrown at me, as well as each joke and lewd remark.

Several years later I went to work for a Fortune 500 company and implemented sexual harassment training for 7,000 employees worldwide. I conducted train-the-trainer workshops for 50-plus human resource generalists. Those generalists then conducted training workshops for their departments. It took over a year to implement, scheduling was a nightmare, and there were inconsistencies in the experience level of the trainers and how the training was delivered.

Fast forward, in 2006 the largest sexual harassment lawsuit ever, at one billion dollars, was filed against investment bank Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein Services. Unfortunately the need for sexual harassment training has not lessened. As President of The Lindenberger Group, a human resources consulting, training and coaching firm, I conduct classroom-based sexual harassment training programs for my clients every year. However, after introducing sexual harassment training via the classroom, I recommend my clients switch to online sexual harassment training after going through the instructor-led training, even though I make less money doing so. Why? Because continuing sexual harassment training online is less expensive, saves traveling and scheduling time, and is consistent.

Tingley Rubber Corporation has used an online sexual harassment training program for five years, which enables them to easily reach all employees. Their Human Resources Manager explains "We have several employees in several states and our sales people have demanding travel requirements, so it can be a challenge to set up training sessions that fit everyone's schedules." Miele, another long-term client of seven years, says, "We found that even though classroom training was mandatory, we did not reach everyone. The beauty of online training is that you can reach everyone and re-train employees every few years. Before online training, I could not keep track of who attended training because everything was manual. The electronic tracking software facilitates our record keeping requirements and confirms employee participation of the training programs, an important feature if a lawsuit is ever filed."

Tingley Rubber Corporation and Miele are two of the smart ones. They proactively invested in online sexual harassment training before they even had a complaint. Too many companies react after they have a problem. It is much less expensive to implement sexual harassment training than it is to be involved in one sexual harassment lawsuit. Because e-learning saves you time and money, and delivers a consistent message to all of your employees, investing in online sexual harassment prevention training is doubly worth it.

About the Author

Judith Lindenberger, president of The Lindenberger Group, provides human resource consulting, leadership training and personalized coaching for lasting, breakthrough results. The company is located near Princeton, New Jersey. For more information, contact [email protected], or visit


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