Use sexual harassment training as prevention, not punishment

Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores, Inc. will pay $255,000 to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced Thursday April, 9.

Cracker Barrel, based out of Lebanon, Tenn., had allegedly turned a blind eye to repeated sexual harassment incidents at its Cedar Bluff, Tenn. store location. The EEOC lawsuit claims that male managers and other employees made repeated and unwanted sexual jokes and lewd remarks to women.

When the women complained about the sexual harassment to the managers and made calls to Cracker Barrel’s compliant line, the company failed to take any action to stop the harassment.

The company failed to take any action to stop the harassment, even after the women complained about it to managers and to the company’s complaint line, according to the lawsuit.

Under the terms of the settlement, Cracker Barrel must: 

  • Modify its policies and practices regarding the investigation of sexual harassment claims,
  • Conduct annual training on sexual harassment and retaliation for all employees for a period of three years
  • Maintain and report complaints of harassment received for three years
  • Post the company’s sexual harassment policy and a statement it will investigate anonymous claims of sexual harassment.

Instead of having sexual harassment training be a punishment for your organization, make it a part of your company culture. Empower every employee with the promise that every sexual harassment claim will be taken seriously and that each case will be fully investigated.

Incorporate sexual harassment training into an overall harassment prevention program at your organization to ensure every employee, including managers and supervisors, know how to recognize and prevent harassing behavior.

Unfortunately, many of your employees may be engaging in or condoning sexual harassment without even realizing it. G.Neil’s Harassment-Free Workplace -- Take Control training program helps employees understand how they can “pause, fast forward, rewind and stop” to take responsibility for their own actions.

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