(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) With the growing popularity of the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment, employers are worried about an increase of sexual harassment claims in the workplace.
Northwest Missouri State University’s Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC) partnered with Polsinelli Defense Attorney Carol Barnett to host an open seminar Thursday morning at to discuss sexual harassment in the workplace.
“There are so many misperceptions, and I’m a little bit concerned that after the Mee Too movement, there may be some piling on, based on those misperceptions,” Barnett said.
“With all of the media attention recently with sexual harassment, There is going to be an uptick in court cases with this. So I think it’s extremely important for business owners oir HR professionals to understand what they can do to help mitigate some of those risks,”SBTDC Director Rebecca Lobin said.
According to Lobin a majority of employers are concerned about legal and financial repercussions against their companies based on the actions of their employees.
“There is fear involved in sexual harassment, if they’ve never experienced it before. There are things you can do [as a company] to mitigate those risks and those fears and that's why we have these trainings,” Lobin said.
While Missouri does not require employees to participate in sexual harassment training, Barnett recommends all professionals regularly attend harassment training.
“I work with a lot of employers who are really informed and know that they need training.and so they are doing training on site, as much as they possibly can build into their budget. But it is a much better practice for employers to engage in regular anti-harassment training,” Barnett said.
For business owners and professionals looking for guidance in handling discussions of sexual harassment in the workplace SBTDC offers free advice and planning, for more information contact Lobin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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