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Maryland Legislature’s Harassment Prevention Efforts Having Positive Impact

Maryland Legislature’s Harassment Prevention Efforts Having Positive Impact

Harassment Prevention Reforms are Creating a Positive Impact!

According to a report by nonpartisan/nonprofit news outlet Maryland Matters, legislative reforms passed in late 2018 have had a positive impact on the Maryland General Assembly. A law passed that year (at the height of public scrutiny over public figure harassment) included mandatory training for all lawmakers to be completed once every two years. According to the director of the Office of Operations and Support Services for the Maryland General Assembly, the training has been offered 9 times in each two-year cycle, and lawmakers are given notice of the upcoming sessions a month in advance. Also according to the report, incidents have reduced from 17 in 2018 to 4 in 2023, demonstrating the program’s significant success in harassment prevention.

Accountability is Critical to Program Success

One thing public and private employers alike can take away from the success of the Maryland harassment prevention law is that accountability matters. As part of the Maryland law, the General Assembly is required to publish a list of lawmakers that did not complete the required training. This creates compliance accountability, and the Maryland Matters report stated only five of the state’s 188 legislatures failed to attend a training session during the last two-year cycle.

Both public and private employers should motivate their workforces to complete mandatory training, but also should consider the privacy and legal considerations of taking such drastic measures as publishing the names of those who have not completed a required assignment. While accountability is critical, Syntrio recommends positive reinforcement around building a culture of learning, as opposed to “shaming” those members of the workforce who fail to complete their training responsibilities. By celebrating the success of the program(s), your organization will allow leaders to demonstrate buy-in, and the program as a whole will be a seen as a positive contribution to the building and maintenance of a healthy workplace culture. Accountability is critical, and we believe using the proper tactics to motivate employees to engage in training will be far more beneficial than publishing lists of those who have not yet completed their training requirements.

Small Sample Sizes Demonstrate the Need to Remain Vigilant

Although the Maryland Matters report is encouraging, it is important to remember that 188 trainees is a small sample size. Employers of all sizes (both public and private) must be diligent about providing educational opportunities that not only teach the illegality of sexual (and other forms of) harassment, but also the detrimental impact that incidents have on a healthy and positive workplace culture. While Maryland’s success story shows we are moving in the right direction, there are still many employers who are simply attempting to “check the box” of compliance.  By taking your program one step further, and offering a program of workplace education that includes: harassment and discrimination training; inclusivity and belonging learning; reporting (Speak Up!) training; and civility and respect courses, your workforce will be far more prepared to recognized and understand behavior that may not rise to the level of illegal harassment, but are detrimental to a positive working environment. Syntrio would appreciate the opportunity to partner with your organization in offering a variety of courses to meet your workplace training needs in Maryland and across the United States (and beyond). Contact a member of our staff today to see how Syntrio (a Mitratech company) can make a difference!

Next Steps

Feel free to contact a member of Syntrio’s staff to see how we can work together to make your workplace culture all it can be in 2024 and beyond.

Since 2007, Jonathan has practiced labor and employment law on behalf of management. Jonathan focuses his practice on advising employers on the prevention of harassment and discrimination issues, with an emphasis on providing in-person harassment training programs to companies of all sizes. Jonathan is licensed in California, Illinois, and Wisconsin, and maintains a national advice practice.

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