Poll: Does sexual harassment training really change attitudes?

Sexual harassment training is required in many companies. Do you think it actually changes attitudes?

In 2008, Alexander McPherson, a professor of molecular biology and biochemistry at UC Irvine's school of biological sciences, wrote an op-ed piece for the Los Angeles Times in which he referred to sexual harassment training as:

...a disgraceful sham. As far as I can tell from my colleagues, it is worthless, a childish piece of theater, an insult to anyone with a respectable IQ, primarily designed to relieve the university of liability in the case of lawsuits. I have not been shown any evidence that this training will discourage a harasser or aid in alerting the faculty to the presence of harassment.

I believe there is something to be learned from sexual harassment training, but it lies in identifying the subtler triggers like racy calendars or inappropriate discussions in the workplace.

I don't think anything is gained by the corny videos where the "actors" do everything except twirl their mustaches and tie screaming damsels to the railroad tracks. If anyone I worked with watched a video-of, say, a smarmy guy continuously putting his arm around a co-worker who has to tell him not to 55 times-and actually has a moment of comprehension then I would escort that person straight out the building just for being stupid.

What do you think?

By Toni Bowers

Toni Bowers is the former Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.