Equal employment opportunity (EEO) training for employees – what is harassment?

Equal employment opportunity (EEO) training for employees – what is harassment?

Some organisations require employees to complete EEO training, providing the knowledge required to understand what inappropriate workplace behaviours are, and how to avoid them. Workplace Harassment is a significant issue in many workplaces. Preventing harassment in the workplace is a skill all employees need to establish to maintain a productive quality of work and stress free environment. Workplace harassment training is designed to help achieve this.

As an individual, your role is to ensure your behaviour reflects the standards required by your organisation. No one can afford not to take harassment at work seriously.

In your EEO training you will learn what constitutes unlawful harassment and what is not considered unlawful harassment. EEO training will also specify who may be affected by harassment and how they may be affected.

What is unlawful harassment? Under federal and state legislation unlawful harassment occurs when someone is made to feel intimidated, insulted or humiliated because of their race, colour, national or ethnic origin; sex; disability; sexual preference; or some other characteristic specified under anti-discrimination or human rights legislation. It can also happen if someone is working in a ‘hostile’ or intimidating environment. Harassment training will ensure you are aware of what acceptable behaviour is.

Harassment can include behaviour such as:

  • telling insulting jokes about particular racial groups
  • sending explicit or sexually suggestive emails
  • displaying offensive or pornographic posters or screen savers
  • making derogatory comments or taunts about someone’s race or religion
  • sexual harassment – dealt with in more detail in a separate module
  • asking intrusive questions about someone’s personal life, including their sex life.
  • bullying – dealt with in more detail in another module
  • discrimination
  • occupational violence
  • industrial sabotage

The Prevention of Workplace Harassment Code of Practice 2004 (QLD), contains a broad definition of workplace harassment. As follows:

A person is subjected to ‘workplace harassment’ if the person is subjected to repeated behaviour, other than behaviour amounting to sexual harassment, by a person, including the person’s employer or a co-worker or group of co-workers of the person that:

(a) is unwelcome and unsolicited

(b) the person considers to be offensive, intimidating, humiliating or threatening

(c) a reasonable person would consider to be offensive, humiliating, intimidating or threatening.

Harassment training will ensure you are aware of your rights responsibilities to equal employment opportunities at work.

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