As a business owner, one of the most challenging tasks you might face is how to properly train your employees. Detailed training for safety and other regulations can be vital to the success of your business. However, one sector that is often overlooked is through sexual harassment training.

In light of the recent Hollywood sexual harassment news, you may want to ensure that your employees receive the latest and most relevant information. No matter where your business is located, nationwide sexual harassment training can offer some important and surprising lessons about this troubling workplace issue.

1. Not all harassment includes contact

When most people think of sexual harassment, they think of unwelcome contacts, such as groping or touching. However, the term exists under a much wider umbrella of meanings. Proper training can inform your employees about all forms of harassment so they do not inadvertently violate workplace policy and can better understand codes of conduct you have created for your business.=

Some forms of no-contact sexual harassment may not seem harmful at first, such as the telling of an off-color joke or having a small pin-up of your favorite actor in a suggestive pose in your cubicle. However, both instances could be considered sexual harassment if someone is offended by them. As the company owner, learning about sexual harassment that does not involve actual contact can help you tighten your business’ guidelines and make the definition clearer for your workers.

2. Shared computer training

While it is usually common for coworkers to send each other funny photos, links, and jokes through a company’s inter-office email, not all humor is acceptable for the workplace. You may be lenient on this detail because you believe that employee relations tend to stay positive when everyone feels friendly toward one another. However, if you do not understand what could be viewed as sexual harassment, even if you find a photo or link amusing, you could find yourself and your company being sued by an employee.

Both you and your employee relations manager should receive shared computer training along with your employees so you can update your company policy together. Creating specific guidelines, such as what defines rude, sexual, or suggestive material, can help reduce the risk of sexual harassment claims while allowing your employees to enjoy the occasional silly email joke or funny cat video.

3. Reporting information

Even if your employees are aware of sexual harassment issues, they may not know how to proceed if they believe they have been a victim. They might feel ashamed or frightened, or they might not be aware of your company’s guidelines, especially if you have several business locations in different states. Proper training across all employee sectors can make them aware of how to proceed and what they are responsible for in the event of an incident.

One important detail that all your employees should know is that the wronged party should report the incident as soon as possible and proceed by guidelines laid out by your company. Following protocol and not waiting to report the issue can make a stronger case later on for those who might have been wronged. The longer an employee waits, the more difficult it may be to make a case.

4. Guidelines are applicable in any location

When you own multiple business locations and your employees move from one location to another on a daily or weekly basis, then a compliance training group for each locale that trains them on the same rules and guidelines is a must. When everyone is on the same page concerning sexual harassment rules and codes of conduct, fewer situations may arise.

For example, if you have a manager who oversees business locations in another city or state, nationwide training can help him or her understand that the guidelines for your business are the same in those locations than they would be if he or she were at their local location. Training of this type can provide traveling employees with stringent rules concerning sexual harassment, no matter where they are working.

Sexual harassment claims can be damaging to your company’s reputation and may even cost you thousands of dollars in lawyer and court costs if a case goes to litigation. Training your employees on this important issue, no matter their location, can reduce harassment claims, help workers better understand their responsibilities concerning codes of conduct, and create a respectful and harmonious work environment for everyone.