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?
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.