Organizations that successfully create an inclusive and positive culture understand that all of its people have an important role to play in maintaining a harassment-free workplace. Any incident of harassment can affect more than just the parties directly involved, and all employees are responsible for helping to maintain a working environment that is free from harassment, discrimination, and other inappropriate conduct.
Ensuring that employees understand their role as bystanders to potential incidents is vital to creating a safe and inclusive culture, and in some jurisdictions, providing such training is mandatory.
This post will explain what it means to be a “bystander” and review three key reasons why bystander intervention training can help your organization prevent workplace harassment.
What Is a Bystander?
Whenever a potentially inappropriate interaction between two individuals occurs, any third party who either directly witnesses the behavior or learns of it later becomes a “bystander”—that is, not a target or an offender, but a witness, whether direct or indirect. For example, someone who overhears inappropriately gratuitous commentary directed at a co-worker in an adjoining office could be a direct witness. An indirect witness might be a colleague in whom someone who is feeling harassed confides that they are feeling uncomfortable with a co-worker’s remarks or actions.
The Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (“CHRO”) recently extended the deadline for employers to provide sexual harassment training for their employees, from October 1, 2020, to January 1, 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The CHRO announcement is available here.
The CHRO website states that this is a blanket extension, and employers do not need to make a request to obtain the extension. Previously, the CHRO announced a 90-day extension for employers, under limited circumstances, which required employers to make a written request to the CHRO seeking an ...
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