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SAVE Opposes HB 370: Sexual Harassment Training in the Workplace

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Rebecca Hain: 513-479-3335


SAVE Opposes HB 370: Sexual Harassment Training in the Workplace

WASHINGTON / January 18, 2024 – The House of Delegates in the Commonwealth of Virginia is considering legislation – HB 370 — that would require all employers with more than 50 employers to provide detailed harassment training annually to all employees (1).

The bill raises a number of problems and concerns, including cost, trainer qualifications, false accusations, and effectiveness:

In addition to the additional financial burden imposed on companies, the bill micromanages trainings in ways that may undermine their effectiveness. It requires that the training be conducted by an “educator or human resources professional.” Why not an experienced lawyer? Lawyers who bring or defend sexual harassment cases and administrative complaints know what the law actually requires.

Sexual harassment training can give rise to false accusations, as well. One manager revealed, “I am a manager and one of my employees reported that she was being sexually harassed by another employee. Her accusations included vague terms and said this employee would stare at her, making her uncomfortable. I immediately notified HR so they could do a full investigation and it turns out that these accusations were false. The employee admitted she just didn’t like the other person and was hoping to get them fired or, in her words ‘cancelled.’” (2).

There is little evidence that sexual harassment training reduces sexual harassment (3). Some research has found that sexual harassment training may have the opposite effect.  One study reported that persons who participated in the training were “significantly less likely” to consider coercive behaviors toward a subordinate or student as sexual harassment, compared with persons who hadn’t done the training (4).

In Kentucky, one lawmaker spoke out in opposition to the mandatory sexual harassment training for lawmakers. Sen. John Schickel said. “Legislators sit through three hours at taxpayers’ expense to be told by a bureaucrat who’s making six figures and elected by no one what’s ethical and what’s not.” (5)

HB 370 may be voted on this week. SAVE urges Virginia lawmakers to strongly oppose HB 370.

SAVE – Stop Abusive and Violent Environments – is a 501(c)3 organization working to assure due process and fairness.